PROJECT NAME - 'Inspiring Generations'
DATE INSTALLED - May 2019
LOCATION - The Campanile - Trinity College, Dublin
ISSUE ADDRESSED - How past masters can inspire future generations
COMMISSIONED BY - Trinity College, Dublin
In January 2019 I was approached by the Provost's Office in Trinity College Dublin to create a large-scale artwork to mark the launch of Ireland’s largest ever philanthropic campaign ‘Inspiring Generations’. This was the University's first major philanthropic campaign in it’s more than 400 year old history.
The brief was to create something that showcased the College’s past and present achievements as a means of pointing to the future and inspiring the next generation of students. After a number of months of research on campus, including the opportunity to see a number of notable works by Samuel Beckett, I created an artwork that celebrates the great successes of the university’s students, alumni and staff, and signals towards the successes yet to come.
The artwork features Samuel Beckett, Nobel Laureate and one of Trinity’s most celebrated alumni, alongside Leah Kenny, who at the time was a Trinity College student having written her final year thesis on Beckett and his work as part of her undergraduate English degree.
This artwork, a visual representation of ‘Inspiring Generations’ shows Beckett passing on his knowledge and inspiring the next generation to rise up and make their mark on the world.
Beckett looks to the viewer in a relaxed pose with his notebook open and right hand pointing his pen to his heart, from which he always wrote. His fingers point towards Leah, who, lost in thought, represents a new generation of scholarship in Trinity.
Leah came to Trinity through its Access Programme and has written about how Beckett’s work seemed inaccessible to her at first, until she came to study his original manuscripts and letters in Trinity Library. She brought her love of Beckett’s work home to her grandparents who described watching Waiting for Godot with Leah as a “key being turned in a lock, the lifting of an intellectual curtain”. The Campanile represents Trinity as the source of this constant inspiration. A constant presence as people come and go, it will inspire generations for the next 400 years.