Artist creates giant astronaut on Newry art centre roof as it reopens after 18 months

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

A GIANT outline of an astronaut has been created on the rooftop of an old mill in Newry, the home of the Sticky Fingers Arts Centre on Upper Edward Street.

Over the past 3 weeks, County Down artist Brendan Jamison has used 10,000 little white rocks to create ‘Astronaut of the Future’. The sculpture measures 15 metres long (50 feet) and features a floating spacesuit complete with helmet and oxygen tank. Famed for making carved sugar cube sculptures, Jamison has created this artwork with white marble and Cretaceous chalk rocks, offering a sparkling bright white for the figure’s outline. The space theme ties in with Jamison’s debut film-making project, Minus 10, with the trailer set for release in December 2021.

Mark Revels, Operations Manager at Sticky Fingers, said “we are delighted to have an internationally-acclaimed artist create this giant artwork on the roof as we reopen to the public on 7th September after an 18 month break. The theme offers a beautiful link to the spaceship in The Imaginarium, our interactive multi-sensory play area. We have been super busy redesigning the arts centre over the past year. Now we can’t wait to reveal all the creativity as we welcome back visitors to enjoy the magic and get lost in a world of wonder.”

One of the highlights of this project is how it can be captured by technology up in the sky. The astronaut is visible as satellites pass over Northern Ireland and when Google Maps do their next update, the artwork will get photographed and become part of the Newry cityscape.

Brendan Jamison states:

“2021 has welcomed the launch of several space tourism projects by billionaires Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic), Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin) and Elon Musk (SpaceX). This has reignited a global hunger to travel closer to the stars and gain a different perspective on Planet Earth. These space projects can help humanity expand our collective imagination, in turn pushing the boundaries of what we dream is possible, something akin to the ethos of the Sticky Fingers Arts Centre. It has a special focus on children, helping them reach their full potential by expanding their imagination through play and creativity. Hopefully ‘Astronaut of the Future’ can connect with the dreams, ambitions and enthusiasm of young people, with their youthful optimism for the future.”

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