CowParade gets under way in Derry early next week when fibreglass cows painted by local community groups and schools go on display across the city.
Earlier this week, a tea party was held at the stables at Ebrington Square where community groups had the chance to see all their cows together before they go out on location.
There are 15 life-size community cows in total. Each group has been working with an artist to design a cow that helps to say something about Derry - the place, its culture and its people.
A number of ‘mini moos’ - calf sized equivalents - have been painted by local schools.
The designs include a winged tribute to Amelia Earhart by the Greater Shantallow Community Group; a cow inspired by Derry punk legends The Undertones and even a cow designed as the “shirt factory horn” - a line from Phil Coulter’s anthem to his home town, ‘The Town I Loved So Well”.
Derry Mayor Kevin Campbell says the event is a fun and unique cultural attraction for the city.
He contined: “The CowParade has provided a truly different canvas for some local community organisations and schools to convey their personal impressions of some of the defining features of our city and local culture.
“The imagination and innovation on display really is testament to the artistry and talent of the people of Derry. It’s a fun and fascinating exhibition that will appeal to visitors and local people alike.”
Noelle McAlinden, Creative Adviser at urban regeneration company ILEX, says the cow sculptures have been adopted by a wide range of communities, schools, individuals and artists with “great enthusiasm and affection.”
“Many have been extremely creative in making their mark, with humour and great wit and with reference to history, heritage, music, culture and full of promise for a creative and peaceful future. It has been intriguing watching the process and in particular the commitment behind communities and artists alike to meet the deadlines.
We were delighted to be able to give members of the public a sneak preview of just some of the masterpieces during the Peace One Day Concert held at Ebrington on June 21. It has been a pleasure working closely with colleagues in Derry City Council in supporting this creative initiative at a significant time in the city.”
CowParade organiser Rachel Hart added: “We’ve been working closely with Derry City Council, ILEX and all the community groups throughout the painting period and some of the ideas that they have come up with are amongst the very best we’ve seen anywhere in the world. That’s a tribute to the great artistry and creativity in Derry/Londonderry which is a great place to visit with its incredible history and warm, friendly people.”
Artist John Ryan, who worked on the Children in Crossfire cow, said: “CowParade has been really inspiring to work on.”
The cows will be on display as a ‘herd’ at Ebrington Square for a number of weeks. A number of them will then be relocated to locations across the city including Guildhall Square.