Generations of Dublin's Tradition and Heritage Commemorated at the ‘GASWORK' Unveiling
TWO hundred years of tradition and generations of gas workers were remembered and permanently commemorated with the unveiling of ‘GASWORK', a 4-metre high art installation on Dublin's Sir John Rogerson's Quay today (Wednesday, June 13).
The installation, by renowned Irish artist John Kindness, was commissioned by Bord Gáis to mark the unique history and heritage of the gas industry in the area around Sir John Rogerson's Quay. It also marks the completion of the €170m Dublin Gas Renewals Project, which has seen 1,200 kilometres of cast iron gas pipes replaced with modern polyethylene, making Ireland's gas network one of the most modern and safe in the world.
The ellipse-shaped structure is clad in vitreous enamel panels and depicts the history and usage of gas through the years based on anecdotes, observations and personal memories of the artist himself and of many who worked in the old Gasworks.
Speaking at the unveiling, John Mullins, Chief Executive, Bord Gáis said; "The docklands area was dominated by the Gasworks since towns gas was first manufactured here around 1824. Towns gas revolutionised Ireland's industrial development at a pace previously unseen. The arrival of natural gas to our shores during the 1970s further cemented the importance of gas to the country's economic development. This heritage spans generations of workers and it is important that the stories of the past are captured for future generations living and working here. GASWORK is a fitting commemoration to this heritage and all those who contributed to it down through the decades."
Bord Gáis Networks MD John Barry said the work celebrated both the old and the new. "The Dublin gas mains renewal project provided us with one of the safest and most modern gas network in the world. It was a major investment in infrastructure which benefits the entire Irish economy, but the roots of the gas industry lie here on Sir John Rogerson's Quay."
The proposed installation submitted by artist John Kindness was selected by an evaluation panel representing experts from the art world, Bord Gáis and the local community. Belfast-born Mr Kindness has exhibited around the world and is also the creator of The Big Fish in his home city.
"I was awarded the commission with a proposal that looks at the gas industry as a lost civilisation. In a double frieze wrapped around an elliptical form I have depicted various scenes of the manufacture (bottom) and usage (top) of gas.
"In the early days of gas distribution the fuel was used solely for lighting so I have made a reference to one of the first gas cooking appliances - a burner that could be attached to the gas light fitting. Also depicted is a local ritual where physicians advised children to be held over the tar pit or ‘cough hole' to inhale the sulphur to cure respiratory illnesses."
The brief required the artwork to reflect the history of the company and the success of nearly two centuries of progress that has brought Ireland to having one of the safest and most modern networks today.
The project was managed by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority on behalf of Bord Gáis Networks. The entire process was run in accordance with the Government's Per Cent for Art Guidelines.
Nigel O'Mahony, Pembroke Communications: 086 2497530.
Ciara Cashen, Pembroke Communications: 086 1940885
Elaine Hattie, Bord Gáis Networks: 087 6381593