An exciting new ceramic artwork, created by art students uniting from all nine secondary schools in Laois, was launched by Minister Charlie Flanagan at Laois Education Centre last Thursday April 7.
'Looking back Looking Forward' is an impressive wall sculpture featuring 3D images of 1916, designed and made by 31 students from across Laois, with the assistance of their teachers, and artist Póilín Ní Aoláin and ceramicist Maeve Sookram.
The schools are Portlaoise College, St Fergal’s College Rathdowney, Scoil Chriost Rí and St Mary’s CBS Portlaoise, Mountrath CS, Clonaslee College, Heywood CS, Mountmellick CS and Coláiste Íosagáin, Portarlington.
Jim Enright is Director of Laois Education Centre.
‘The sculpture tells the complex story, in a unique way, of 1916 and beyond. It is a rich cultural ceramic asset which will serve as Laois Post-Primary schools’ legacy.” he said at the launch.
Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Charlie Flanagan said he was honoured to attend the launch.
“I am delighted that schools across Laois have embraced the 1916 Centenary programme and the result of this project is outstanding. The wall sculpture is beautifully crafted with great care and attention. Each individual clay tile beautifully depicts its own story and reflects the individuality of the artist. It is an excellent one of a kind project. I hope that it goes on display nationally,” he said.
St Fergal's pupil Darragh Carroll spoke on behalf of the students involved, describing the friendships they forged.
“This masterpiece we created is an exemplification of heart, mind, patriotism and co-operation. It was our way of showing appreciation for our great history,” he said.
Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald, Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, noted that it has now supported over 40 community commemoration projects, praising the interest and quality of projects.
Each school has also designed a specially ceramic tile to commemorate their participation in the project. A commemorative booklet is available at Laois Education Centre, where the artwork is now on permanent display.
The project was a partnership between Laois Education Centre, County Council and Laois Commemorations Committee, funded by the Ireland 2016 programme.