London Mayor Boris Johnson has predicted that the City of Culture celebration in Derry next year will be “a knock out success”.
He made the comment at a handover ceremony in London on Sunday where the baton was formally passed from the organisers of the London 2012 festival to the team behind Derry’s City of Culture events.
Derry was one of three cities chosen to receive formal handovers from London 2012, the others being Glasgow, which will host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and Rio de Janeiro, which will host the 2016 Olympics.
To mark the occasion, a specially commissioned artwork by David Shrigley was unveiled.
It is based on a newspaper publicity board featuring the headline, ‘Small city becomes huge.’
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Mr Johnson said; “As the curtain comes down on London 2012 I am so delighted the magic won’t stop as we hand over the baton to Derry.
“The cultural celebrations this year have been phenomenal and I know 2013 will continue to raise the bar and be a knock out success.” Mayor of Derry, councillor Kevin Campbell also welcomed the handover. “2013 is a huge opportunity for our city to shine and to showcase its talents and bring world class events to the region. City of Culture presents us with tremendous opportunities to generate new connections and tell our new story across the world and put culture and innovation at the heart of our programme of activity,” he said.
Culture Company Chief Executive, Shona McCarthy said Derry’s links with London will be strengthened by the City of Culture celebrations.
“We feel extremely privileged to have been entrusted with taking on the cultural mantle that has been carried brilliantly by London in 2012 and we have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working in partnership with London 2012 Festival this year.”
Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said 2013 will be an “amazing” year for Derry.
“Over the last few months this part of Ireland has been spoilt for choice with over 15 world class cultural experiences for us to enjoy.
“In many ways this was the warm-up to what promises to be an exciting and truly amazing year not just for Derry City but for the whole of Ireland, and for the many visitors the City of Culture hopes to attract.”