Athenry - The Well
Public Art in Athenry
Name of Artist: John Langan
Materials Used: Bronze, Limestone, Stainless Steel
This artwork is influenced by the site's proximity to Athenry Castle and the North Gate. The intention was to develop an artwork which is specific to the location and celebrates local distinctiveness and the history of this place and its people, while also combining the overall theme of light, landscape and water. The concept involves the creation of an artwork which functions in much the same way as a well-spring might have in the past: a place where people went to collect water, which acted as a meeting point, a social place to gather and chat. The understated design concept and materials were influenced by the proximity to the Arch or North Gate and Castle, notions of springs, fountains, waterwheels and repositories, the play of light on water, Tibetan prayer wheels and the history of Athenry.
Three limestone columns are set in a circle, each column in the form of an arch or buttress meeting at the centre-point of the circle. From the top centre point a vertical stainless steel post runs into the ground. Attached to this post is a cast bronze cylinder which rotates with gentle pressure. To inform the content of the work the artist conducted a series of workshops
with local young people, initially inviting an archeologist to give a talk to the various groups, then developing a series of workshops where the young people created a series of individual clay forms based on their sense of Athenry and its history. These forms were converted to waxes and then incorporated into the main sculptural work. The work in its entirety makes
subtle references to the notion of light, landscape and water, the aesthetic expression is sensitive to the site and the piece encourages community interaction.