WISH: A Monumental 11-Acre Portrait in Belfast by Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada
Unveiled several days ago in Belfast, Northern Ireland as part of the Belfast Festival, WISH is the latest public art project by Cuban-American artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, known for his monumentally scaled portraits in public spaces. The image depicted is of an anonymous Belfast girl and is so large it can only be viewed from the highest points in Belfast or an airplane.
Several years in the making, WISH was first plotted on a grid using state-of-the-art Topcon GPS technology and 30,000 manually placed wooden stakes in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. The portrait was then “drawn” with aid of volunteers who helped place nearly 8 million pounds of natural materials including soil, sand, and rock over a period of four weeks. Rodríguez-Gerada says of the endeavor:
Working at very large scales becomes a personal challenge but it also allows me to bring attention to important social issues, the size of the piece is intrinsic to the value of its message. Creativity is always applied in order to define an intervention made only with local materials, with no environmental impact, that works in harmony with the location.
The project was made possible by several local businesses, most notably McLaughlin & Harvey, P.T McWilliams, Tobermore and Lagan Construction who generously donated materials, tools, machinery, staff, soil, sand and stone. WISH will be up through at least December and local residents already have a nickname for it: The Face from Space.