Northern Ireland Hospice Public Art
two commissions by Charlie Whinney to be installed 2016 - how to get involved!

The Project

Northern Ireland Hospice is rebuilding the Adult Hospice, Somerton Road, Belfast. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Lottery Public Art Programme is supporting NI Hospice with the development of an Integrated Public Arts Project for this rebuild. 
 
After a very inspiring creative consultation process with local people and artists Deirdre Cartmill and Sheelagh Colclough, over 30 artworks have been commissioned from many fantastic and talented artists. There are two sculptural installations outside the entrances which are being made by UK artist Charlie Whinney.  This website has been made by Charlie Whinney Studio to engage with locals in Belfast and to let you know what we are doing as the project progresses, and also hopefully to encourage you to send us photos to use in making the artworks!  
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Creative Consultation

The Sculptures

Using the creative consultation as a starting point, the sculptures went through a dozen or more different versions; it was a surprisingly difficult brief.  We eventually settled on two formulations encompassing the aspects I felt to be most important.  The sculptures must be objects which, above all, are visibly made with skill, care, attention and love; they must offer some narrative to the viewer while they are looking at the work (clever sculptures that 'do something'); they must contain semiotic motifs and content that is simple to understand and to 'get' (so not abstract or too oblique in concept); they must not be boring!

Swallows of Belfast

This is an installation on a 10m long, curved wall to the left of the main entrance to the hospice.
 
Around 75 hand-carved wooden birds will be fastened to a sculptural laser-cut steel mirror that shadows the shapes of the birds.  When you look at the mirror behind the birds you will notice the undersides of the wings are actually printed with acrylic photographs (cropped in wing shape), two per bird so around 150 photographs in total.  You may recognise fragments of local landmarks or the amazing countryside, rivers and lakes around Belfast in some of the pictures.
 
We will be dividing the images used as either 'blue' or 'green' depending on which colour they contain most of, and will be using mostly blue on the left wings and green on the right wings.  This will have the result that when you look at the birds from the road they will appear to have a blue background, but when you look from the hospice entrance it appears green.
 
 

Hospice Community

This is a free-standing sculpture of around a dozen carved and curved wooden posts sticking out of the ground, and above the posts are many metal birds painted all the colours of the rainbow. 
 
When you stand right by the entrance of the Day Hospice, just before you walk in, you will see the shapes of the pieces of wood align to show the clear outline of two people holding hands. The colours of the birds will go through the rainbow from red to violet.
 
When you stand about 2.5m from the sculpture looking directly towards the hospice, you will see two or more different figures emerge, hands held high. Again the colours of the birds will go through the rainbow from red to violet.
 
When you look at the sculpture from inside, through the window of the canteen, you will see the figures again, a little fragmented but visible, and all the birds will appear white
 
When you look at the sculpture from inside the reception, you will see the sculpture about 15m away outside through a small window, with the two figures again and all the birds turned blue.
 
From all other angles the sculpture will appear fairly abstract.
 
This sculpture contains a welded steel frame under the wood that was made using light projections as a template to make everything the correct shape. 

About Charlie Whinney Studio

Charlie Whinney studied Architecture at Kingston University, Furniture at Rycotewood College and 3D Design at Falmouth College of Arts.  Since 2008 Charlie Whinney Studio has created about 30 large-scale art installations in Singapore, Japan, China, France, UK, Ireland and USA, alongside work with smaller sculptures product design and teaching.
 
You can see some example of previous work below - or visit www.charliewhinney.com to find out more.
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