Tower of Imagination 2011
Photo Courtesy Solarite Ireland
In 2010 Sticky Fingers, funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Lottery Fund and supported by the Department for Regional Development and Newry and Mourne District Council, commissioned artist Maurice Harron to design a unique sculpture celebrating the children of Newry. After spending time with the children during his research time in Newry, Maurice collected a series of key images and themes. Many of the drawings that the children completed depicted houses and castles, and within these structures were a multitude of stories - heroes, family members and magical creatures, both frightening and hopeful.
It was the stories that came from the children's imagination that caught Maurice's attention - the possibilities for the children were endless when given simple drawing materials and a roll of paper. Stories changed every time the child described the drawing and new and changing elements of the tale were illuminated and weaved in and out of the curious aspects of their spindly drawings.
The seemingly unending opportunity for their imagination to run free, that moment of possibility as a child approaches a clean sheet of paper, a beacon of mystery, enchantment, humour and hope - these were the thematic building blocks that led to his final proposal.
The Tower of Imagination was unveiled in Newry in July 2011 and is sited on the A1 road in Newry. It is a steel structure with a lustre finish, standing up 25 feet tall with coloured and changing lighting illuminating figures and symbols from within the tower windows. Two figures of children stand approaching the tower with wonder - physical representations of us, the audience, the passing motorist who may see a different element and facet of the sculpture on each trip.
We hope that the Tower of Imagination will stand as a beacon of and for the children of Newry but also as a beacon for hope, opportunity, forward thinking and imagination for us, the grown-ups, who may have lost that little bit of magic we so easily believed in as children. It will be an icon for children, for Newry and for Northern Ireland.
Bunscoil an Iuir
St Joseph's Convent P.S.
St Joseph's P.S. (Meigh)
St Ronan's P.S.
St Malachy's P.S. (Carrickcruppin)
Maurice Harron was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. After studying at Ulster College of Art & Design, he taught at St. Joseph's College of Education, Belfast, Convent of Mercy, Belfast, St. Columb's College, Derry and Lumen Christi College, Derry. In 1983 he began working at painting and sculpture. He had one-man exhibitions in City Hall, Sligo in 1987, and Heritage Library, Derry in 1989.
For the last 18 years he has worked to address issues of belief, ethnicity and political tension through his sculpture. Working in public locations, he has made works which explore themes connected to social, historical and cultural identity.