The Giant: The Protector at the Lough - CODAworx

The Giant: The Protector at the Lough

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Client: Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council

Location: Antrim, United Kingdom

Completion date: 2022

Artwork budget: $75,000

Project Team

Artist

Casto Solano

Coordinator

Colin McCabrey

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council

Overview

This artwork is a monumental representation of the giant, Finn Mac Cool, framed against the shores of Lough Neagh, and outside “The Gateway”, a brand new exhibition and heritage center dedicated to the discovery and exploration of the Lough and local heritage. The artwork traces a story-line through the books of the Dun Cow and of Leinster, through Yeats and Heaney, and on to today’s young storytellers. It creates a space that draws our paths to it and inspires us to look out across the waters in contemplation. As our ancestors stood and where our children will stand. In Antrim, at a Lough that sits like the axis of a wheel at the center of five counties. A jewel of nature, our shared heritage and a means of sustenance, trade and communication between so many people for so many centuries. A channel for our stories and our imagination. The artwork is a love song to the Lough, to the land, and to Antrim’s communities and folklore.

Goals

The goals here were to create an artwork that integrated into the folklore, the culture, the ecosystems, and the landscape surrounding Lough Neagh and Antrim, reaching out to the entire north of Ireland. To create a stunning focal point for the area's heritage at The Gateway Center. Hence Casto's inspiration to re-interpret a mythological figure, the Giant Finn Mac Cool, as he rips a chunk of rock from Ireland and throws it at a rival giant across the sea in Scotland... in the act, creating what is now Lough Neagh. Casto's interpretation is of a giant sculpted in intertwining grasses, reeds; grown from the land, from the abundant life of the Lough and surrounding land. As such, the sculpture remains open and we can see the water framed through its windows in viewpoints that change as we move around the artwork. It acts also as a shining beacon out across the water. A marker of safe port. A waypoint and a meeting place, where the lines of our culture and heritage converge. A giant of myth seen in the distance, who turns into reality as we approach.

Process

This project was highly collaborative, and relied on good communications between the artist, the clients at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, and the logistics and work teams charged with transport and installation. Hence, Casto and his studio worked closely with the council from the beginning of the project to delimit final designs, and then to coordinate with all of the other teams involved in the project so as to ensure a smooth process of design, fabrication, delivery and installation for a stunning, world class artwork.