The Legenderry Herd Arrives in Town

Fly me to the moooooon! The Amelia Earhart cow gets ready for lift off at the launch of CowParade in Derry
Fly me to the moooooon! The Amelia Earhart cow gets ready for lift off at the launch of CowParade in Derry

CowParade gets under way in Derrythis weekend when fibreglass cows painted by community groups and schools across the city go on display.

A tea party was held at the stables at Ebrington Square today so that community groups could see all their cows together before they go out on location this Friday.

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. In addition, 6 ‘mini moos’ - calf sized equivalents - have been painted by local schools.

Designs include a tribute to Amelia Earhart by the Greater Shantallow Community Group; a cow inspired by the Undertones which will feature at their concert later this week and even a cow designed as the Shirt factory horn by the Gasyard Centre and Pilots Row Community Centre.

The Mayor of the city, Councillor Kevin Campbell, said the parade was a fun and entirely unique cultural attraction for the city: “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. Among the designs and key themes are tributes to Amelia Earhart and The Undertones, and 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 ILEX said: “ILEX have been delighted to work in partnership with Derry City Council and Asitis Consulting to make this opportunity happen. 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 21st. 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 said: “We’ve been working closely with Derry City Council, ILEX and all the community groups throughout the painting period and I have to say that 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 – what makes this event different from previous ones around the world is that emphasis on community groups so that they really get a chance to express themselves through art”.