Interpretation of ancient Roman piece to join works at innovative garden collection
Limerick headquartered firm Kirby Group Engineering has unveiled a major sculpture at the Hunt Museum, part of its Museum in a Garden project. The company, founded in Thomondgate in 1964, commissioned and donated the piece, which was revealed to the public last Friday.
The steel piece by Dublin artist Paul Harrison takes the form of a dodecahedron and stands at over 4.25 metres. It is an interpretation of the Dodecahedron from the Hunt Museum Collection, believed to date to the later Roman Empire. Paul’s sculpture features a shaft running through the centre that lights up at night time, illuminating the museum garden overlooking the River Shannon.
Kirby’s dodecahedron is one of several sculptures displayed in the Museum in a Garden, forming part of a wider initiative to spark curiosity, break down the barriers of entry to the museum and encourage the public to come inside to see the original versions in the Hunt Museum.
Discussing its creation, Paul Harrison said: “I really wanted to look at the piece as an artistic response to the original shape and the energy that it has. I was interested in the spheres on the edges of the dodecahedron and how the exterior relates to the interior. I love the sense of curiosity and wonder that the piece evokes, especially as no one is entirely sure what it was used for in ancient times. I wanted something that would encourage people to take an interest in the museum, to come over and see what might be inside the building.”
The sculpture was unveiled at an official ceremony on Friday June 23rd attended by newly-elected Cathaoirleach of the Metropolitan District of Limerick, Councillor Azad Talukder, other government officials, as well as the sculpture’s creator Paul Harrison, representatives from the Hunt Museum, members of the Kirby family, senior Kirby employees, representatives from University of Limerick and TUS Limerick, and members of the arts community locally.
Commenting on the unveiling, Councillor Azad Talukder, Cathaoirleach of the Metropolitan District of Limerick said: “The Hunt Museum is a real jewel in the crown of arts and culture in Limerick and this fantastic new sculpture by Paul Harrison adds to what is already a hugely impressive and important collection. I’d really encourage people to come and see what’s housed here. I’d also like to personally thank Kirby for commissioning this piece and for their commitment to enhancing Limerick communities.”
Ruairí Ryan, Operations Director at Kirby said: “At Kirby we have a long tradition of community involvement and in this regard our values are very much aligned with those of the Hunt Museum, which offers a fantastic amenity for adults and children alike. Kirby was founded in Limerick in 1964 and we’ve always felt a deep connection to its people, so when the opportunity came up to commission a work of art, and donate it to the Museum, we didn’t hesitate. The Hunt Museum is right in the middle of the city, facing the Kirby House across the water on Clancy Strand, and it really stands out. I’d like to pay special tribute to Elizabeth Kirby, who approached Paul to create the piece as she thought his logical and measured approach would suit Kirby and lead to a good partnership. This created the foundation for the journey that brought this great sculpture to life.”
Paul Harrison added “I’m so grateful to Kirby for commissioning this piece, it shows how innovative and progressive the company is. Ruairí and Elizabeth were incredibly open and positive about the whole project. It gave me great confidence going forward. As an artist, it helps a lot to have a really visionary, powerful supporter to create a piece like this.”
Director and CEO of the Hunt Museum Jill Cousins expects people to be fascinated by the intricate artistry of the dodecahedron, “Paul Harrison has created a stunning sculpture and we expect it to be a source of much intrigue as visitors, especially children, try and figure out what the original dodecahedron might have been used for back in Roman times. We’d like to thank Kirby for commissioning and donating this piece, and for its ongoing support of artistic and cultural events in Limerick.”
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