For the 2013 Ulster Bank Belfast International Festival at Queen’s, Cuban-American Artist, Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada, has created WISH, a portrait of an anonymous local girl photographed by the artist in the process of making a pure and simple wish for the future. Spanning an 11 acre site in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, the photographic image of this girl – made of topsoil, sand, grass and stones – can be seen from various locations around Belfast. This innovative public artwork pushes boundaries and uses cutting edge technologies, making it one of the most ambitious land art projects in the world.
Making WISH was no easy task. With 30,000 wooden stakes, 2,000 tonnes of soil, and 2,000 tonnes of sand, the WISH team had just four weeks to complete one of the largest realistic portraits the world has ever seen.
WISH was created by the artist, in partnership with the city of Belfast and its people. It would not have been possible without the hundreds of hours contributed by volunteers – from individuals to community groups – and the generosity and support of local businesses and contractors including McLAughlin & Harvey, P.T McWilliams, Tobermore and Lagan Construction who donated expertise, materials, tools, machinery, staff, soil, sand and stones all free of charge. The land was donated by Titanic Quarter Limited and The Titanic Foundation.
Utilising state of the art Topcon GPS technology and lots of old fashioned elbow grease, the artist and his team plotted out the site with stakes and builders’ line before scores of volunteers got involved in spreading the various natural materials throughout the site.
“Working at very large scales becomes a personal challenge but it also allows me to bring attention to important social issues, the size of the piece is intrinsic to the value of its message. Creativity is always applied in order to define an intervention made only with local materials, with no environmental impact, that work in harmony with the location.” Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada
On behalf of the artist and the WISH team, the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s would like to thank the following for their hard work, support and dedication in the realisation of WISH: Kilwaughter Lime, JP Corry, Murdock Builder’s Merchant, KDM Hire, Batesy Skip Hire, Speedy Hire, Emerald Lawns, A McKee & Co Ltd, Norspace Ltd, Dalzell Landscape Company, Skyline Photography, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, Nomadic Belfast, The Green Deli, The Dock Team Chris Bennett, Chris Hollies and Tegan Glover.The WISH Creative Team, without whom the project would not have been possible: Colm Clarke, Phil Hession, Tomàs Hughes, Senan Kelly, Ruaidhri Lennon, Barry Lowe, Ryan Moffett, Paul Slane, Ruairi Sherry, Maxim Surin, Neil Hall, Jordan Magee, William Johnston, Stephen Madden, Brendan McCabe and Chad Donaldson.And of course our wonderful volunteers, with special thanks to Amy Wagner and Ann Kristin Siversten.