Sculptor still waiting reply from Council on artwork

Joan Smith beside her 'City People' sculpture which was bulldozed to make way for a car park.

Joan Smith beside her 'City People' sculpture which was bulldozed to make way for a car park.

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An internationally-acclaimed artist is still waiting to hear if her award-winning sculpture is to be re-erected in Derry.

‘City People’ - which was a focal point of Foyle Street Urban Park in the 1970s and 1980s - was bulldozed in the early 1990s to make way for a car park.

Artist Joan Walsh-Smith only found out about the demolition after the Journal contacted Derry City Council to find out the whereabouts of the sculpture.

Council subsequently confirmed that Mrs. Walsh-Smith’s 30 metre long public artwork had been “decommissioned”.

Mrs. Walsh-Smith said she was “shocked and appalled” to learn of the demolition, branding it a “stupenduous act of cultural vandalism”.

However, Mrs. Walsh-Smith believes ‘City People’ can be resurrected in Derry and has written to the City Council asking it to consider this option.

In a letter to Council Chief Executive Sharon O’Connor, Mrs. Walsh-Smith says she believes this can be done as the original moulds are available in perfect condition.

A spokesperson for Derry City Council acknowledged that it has received correspondence from Ms. Smith regarding proposals to re-commission the artwork for the city.

The spokesperson explained that any commissioning of art work would have to be approved by Council and would be subject to “a process of consultation and approval in partnership with key stakeholders.”

The spokesperson added: “These include a range of issues including funding and planning.

“The Council is currently liaising directly with Ms. Smith regarding her comments.”