World renowned artist and metal smith, Boris Bally, visited Derry this week to help local people make furniture out of disused road signs.
Boris, who hails from Pittsburgh but now lives with his wife and children in Providence Rhode Island, arrived in Derry last weekend and will spend the next week working with various groups to design, build and install art work made from road signs.
Boris helped to launch the International Contemporary Craft and Applied Art exhibition at the Stables Building at Ebrington last night.
The American artist is in Derry for CultureCraft’s ‘REuse, REpurpose’ programme and is managed by Derry City Council (DCC).
‘Derry is absolutely brilliant, it’s top class and I can’t get over how welcoming the people have been.
“My family is from Switzerland and we can trace our ancestors back to the 15th and 16th centuries but with a name like Bally there must be some Irish blood in me,” he laughed.
The workshops hosted by Boris were open to the public and people from as far away as Limerick, Leitrim and Dublin.
Local artist, Seliena Coyle who has co-ordinated the ‘REuse, REpurpose’ programme, said she was delighted with how the event was going and said she hoped Derry’s relationship with Boris was something that could be developed over the next few years.
“I am absolutely over the moon with how the programme has gone and it’s amazing to see people from all over Ireland coming here to work with someone as talented and as world renowned as Boris Bally.
“Boris is an absolute joy to work with and he has been singing the praises of our road signs,” she laughed.
Boris has worked with road signs all over the world and he was pleasantly surprised when he attempted to turn an old Steelstown Road sign into a piece of furniture.
“I can’t get over the quality of your road signs here,The only thing is that the back of the signs are covered in metal framing but as far as the signs are concerned this is top class,” smiled Boris.
The theme of the art constructed by Boris and the different groups was influenced by the appearance of the columns at the Giants Causeway.
“I visited the Giants Causeway this week and as someone who has been all over the world I can hand on heart say that the Giants Causeway is without question one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.”
The International Contemporary Craft and Applied Art exhibition is open until the end of of the month.