Social Development Minister, Margaret Ritchie, today announced the commissioning of new public art, the ‘Bax of Fegs’, for Fountain Street in Belfast City Centre
THE SCULPTURE depicts a packet of cigarettes, can of lager and coins.
The ‘bax’ which will stand five and a half metres tall, is based on a packet of twenty Regal King Size from Centra, bought the time Smickers McGlinchey asked for 20 Lambert and Butler but they had none of them nor had they Benson and Hedges. At that time McGlinchey had had a pint waiting for him just off Sandy Row, but his compatriots had since diverted to what is now called Fountain Street in order to drink a wee c/o round the side of the bakers.
The can of Harp, which is a symbol within the ancient Dypsomaniac culture of Ireland, will be made from polished aluminium with a silvery reflective appearance, and will appear to be leaking beer like water splashing the Bax but miraculously not affecting the Fegs within. That’s thanks to the cellophane. The £3.47 in small change at the top of the sculpture will be for the next Bax of ten, a dramatic accent and symbol of good fortune for the city and its bright future. In the evenings, dramatic lighting will throw enchanting shadows of the pre-teens, uninterested in going home to hear another parental argument, who will add their penmanship to the pristine surfaces of the Bax.
Margaret Ritchie said: ‘This is a fascinating link between the rich history of old Belfast, the dynamic, attractive modern city centre that we are producing and the necessity for our departments to justify their budgets by spending every last penny allocated to them. Belfast city centre is well on its way to having a streetscape which compares with other regional capital cities across Europe. It may not compare favourably, but it will feature in comparisons. Public art plays a key role in that. Tourists are very attracted to public art for photo opportunities and public urination, be it on a little mermaid in Copenhagen or a Bax of Fegs in Belfast.
‘We must keep on embracing public art to help showcase our capital city to the rest of the world. Not only will it mean we have wee photos of stuff to put in our brochures, thereby tricking investors and citizens into hanging around, but it will connect the history of its past for future generations to come. I am confident that this new piece will become an integral part of a new Belfast like its predecessors, the ‘Bogling Gluebegger with a Stanley Knife’ in Arthur Square and the ‘Auld Doll with the Unfeasibly Deep Voice’ at the Lagan Weir.’
The art sculpture is the final piece of the Belfast Streets Ahead regeneration project. It has been designed by the London-based sculptor Jizz Henceforth. ‘London-based’ as no one from Belfast could be found who was willing or able to create a symbol of good fortune for the city and its bright future.
Complaints that the products depicted do not appropriately reflect local history have been made.
While there is no reference to the now defunct Gallagher’s tobacco factory Harp lager is a traditional beverage in Northern Ireland and is brewed in the Great Northern Brewery. In Dundalk. The Gallagher Group is now owned by Japan Tobacco.