Rosemount’s ‘Stag with the Bag’ aims to inspire new avenue for art

The latest addition to Derry’s growing array of street art installations aims to be the first of many in the Rosemount/Glen area of the city.

Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 10:49 am
DEER GOD! The Stag with the Bag mural is located at the junction of Glenview Avenue and Glasgow Terrace in Rosemount. DER2019GS-066

Christened ‘The Stag with the Bag’ and ‘The Monarch of the Glen’ by locals, the superb new piece is the work of London-based street artist ‘Irony’.

Irony is recognised as a top photo-realistic street artist and is regularly asked to paint around the world. He gave up his time for free to plan and paint this new mural in Derry which is his first piece in Ireland outside of Belfast.

The mural is located at the junction of Glenview Avenue and Glasgow Terrace, on the edge of the Rosemount and Glen areas of the city. Inspired by the famous Victorian painting, ‘The Monarch of the Glen’, it depicts a large stag standing proud and defiant at dusk on a cold day - though with a twist. The stag doesn’t realise that his pomp is deflated by a plastic bag being stuck in his antlers.

The photo-realistic representation also contains Irony’s trademark humour and is a nod to the area where it’s based - both in the ‘Monarch of the Glen’ nickname and the fact that the area has a century-old history as Derry’s Scotch Quarter.

When the neighbourhood was first built at the end of the 19 th century, the new houses were lived in by Glaswegians brought over to work in the city’s shipbuilding industry - which is why the streets there have Scottish names like Glasgow Terrace and Argyle Street.

Finally, the mural also includes a subtle but important environmental message about the impact of disposable plastic upon our environment.

Irony was brought to Derry by street art blog, London Calling ( www.LondonCallingBlog.net ), a non-funded and non-profit organisation which documents street art and facilitates the provision of legal public spaces for artists to showcase their work. Since 2017, they’ve been working with Derry-native Steve Bradley on a street art project in south London which involves an ever-growing number of residents and businesses volunteering their walls for street art installations.

Steve was commissioned by Channel 4 to arrange the location and logistics for the hugely popular ‘Derry Girls’ mural at Orchard Street which was painted by local street art pioneers, UV Arts. Prior to this, he had mentioned to the London Calling team that he’d a gable wall on his own house in Derry, located in an area with lots of other walls, perfect for street art. Steve asked if London Calling Blog knew any world class artists who would be interested in doing a piece there to encourage other residents to volunteer their walls, too, and Irony agreed to volunteer.

Steve Walsh, from London Calling Blog, commented: “We were delighted to receive such a lovely offer from Steve to paint the spot he had for us - especially as it was an opportunity to make our first trip to NI and help create a mural that was free of the political allegiances which have been so characteristic of many of the murals there in the past.”

Steve Bradley added: “London Calling Blog and Irony have been fantastic from the start. As soon as I told them I’d a gable-end that I thought could be used to inspire others in the area to want art on their walls too, they were hugely supportive. Through Irony they’ve ensured that this ordinary neighbourhood in Derry now has a piece of extraordinary art from one of the best photo-realistic street artists around. And for Irony to give up his time for free to deliver such a beautiful piece here speaks volumes about his generosity and passion for street art.”

Steve Bradley says that street art has the power to completely transform the look and feel of any area.

“Glenview Avenue contains a long series of gable end walls that would be perfect for further good quality installations to create a new ‘Avenue for Art’. With the support of residents and wall owners, we could have a beautiful and unique destination within our city and something for people in The Glen and Rosemount area to. hopefully. be proud of. And it would create more space locally to showcase the work of street artists, both from Derry and beyond. Let’s use the power of street art to provide an amazing new home for creativity and colour in that part of our city.”

Anyone who has a gable end wall in that part of the city that they’d be happy to see used for good quality street art, get in touch on [email protected]