The Office of Public Works and Waterford City & County Council commission a new large scale painting for Waterford Flood Defence Works
The Office of Public Works and Waterford City & County Council have recently commissioned Irish artist, Blaise Smith, to create a new large-scale painting that reflects a 21st century view of Waterford city under the ‘Per Cent for Art Scheme’ for flood defence works.
In 1735, Waterford Corporation, as it was then known, commissioned a painting of the city from Dutch painter, William Van der Hagen (d. 1745). This painting still hangs today in the Bishop’s Palace, one of Waterford Treasures’ award winning trilogy of museums, and is considered to be a painting of national importance. The new painting entitled “Waterford 2016”, 5 metres in length and comprised of 52 panels, will act as a companion painting to the Van der Hagen painting. The view is from the same vantage point – showing the city from across the river Suir as it stands today with all the changes that have taken place over the span of two hundred and eighty years.
Blaise Smith A.R.H.A. is a leading Irish figurative painter. Speaking about this commission, he said: “Like the Van der Hagen from 1736, I hope that my painting will be viewed in 280 years’ time and people will marvel at how the city looked in the past. Hopefully another lucky artist will be commissioned then, and will be facing an even bigger painting challenge than I am at this time.”
Speaking ahead of the unveiling of the painting, the Mayor of Waterford, Cllr Adam Wyse has acknowledged the significance of the painting: “This painting allows us to reflect, not only on the past, but on the future, and the great potential that Waterford has. The fact that we now have two tremendous paintings of Waterford, separated by almost two hundred and eighty years, is a testament to the pride we hold in this beautiful city, just as our predecessors did before us.”
Waterford City & County Council requested that the Percent for Art funding relating to these vital works be used to commission a new painting of the City of Waterford from across the River Suir. Waterford City & County Council considered it fitting and appropriate that the proposed art commission would stem from works undertaken on the river itself.
This new painting will form part of the State Art Collection, while residing permanently on display in Waterford City. The painting will hang in the vestibule of City Hall in Waterford City for future generations to enjoy.
Notes to Editors
Details of Painting
Artist: Blaise Smith
Title: Waterford 2016
Media : Oil on 38 x 38 cm Gesso panels (52 in an array of 4 x 13)
Overall dimensions: 494 cm x 152 cm (unframed)
Photography from this event will be available from Patrick Browne Photography, 086 2515700 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Background to Flood Defence Works in Waterford
The city of Waterford has a long history of flooding from the River Suir and John’s River. The Flood Relief Scheme was carried out by Waterford City and County Council with funding provided by the Office of Public Works. Works were carried out on a phased basis with approximately 1.5km of glass and reinforced concrete walls being constructed along the river Suir Quays, Scotch Quay and Waterside which were completed in May 2011. Further works were commenced in November 2011 which comprised the construction of flood walls and embankments on the River Suir, John’s River and the Lisduggan Stream and sections of the Tramore Road were raised and upgraded. All of these works are now substantially complete with some minor works remaining to be carried out. The flood relief scheme provides protection to 334 residential and 186 commercial premises.
Blaise Smith A.R.H.A. has recently completed a portrait commission for the Abbey Theatre. He has exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad. His project SCHOOLWORK which involved 20 paintings of an Irish Secondary School won an AXA Business to Arts Award in 2012. His portraits have been shown in the BP Portrait Award in the National Portrait Gallery in London and most recently his Landscape “The Join” won the Carlow AIB Eigse Award for most outstanding work in 2015.