Roscommon artist Joe Caslin has unveiled an evocative giant new wall drawing as part of the Waterford Walls International Street Art festival.
The giant seven storey creation, presented in collaboration with the A Lust For Life organisation, aims to provoke awareness and discussion around mental health issues. It also marks the opening of the new Pieta House centre in the city.
The piece is entitled ‘Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine’, which translates as ‘we live protected under each other’s shadow’. It adorns the façade of the abandoned Ard Rí Hotel in Waterford which has been delict for several years and overlooks the city. It marks the final offering of this year’s acclaimed Waterford Walls festival.
Speaking about the creation, artist Joe Caslin said; “I have found that Waterford, like so many other places around the country, has been massively impacted by high unemployment, and this has left many young people are suffering and feeling disillusioned about their prospects and the future.”
“I want people to look up at this drawing and find hope. The drawing is installed to confront stigma, to question how we find our moral compass, to challenge us to build resilience but, above all, it is a symbol of support. With the recent opening of Pieta House in the city, I felt it was an ideal time to create this drawing in Waterford and with the support of many partners and my incredible team.”
Speaking on the work, A Lust For Life co-founder and Director, Niall Breslin (Bressie) said, Joe Caslin is an ideal collaborator for his A Lust For Life wellbeing movement, which is currently short-listed for a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland award.
“Joe’s ability, through his immense talent as an artist to capture the essence and mood of a social energy is a true illustration of how symbolism, art and imagery can impact and facilitate a cultural shift and become a strong foundation for a new conversation.
“To date he has successfully managed to create pieces of art that have galvanised social movements with the purist, simplistic human beauty of his art. He cuts through outdated societal stigmas through his brave and innovative creativity. We are humbled to be a part of this powerful project.”
Speaking about the project and the opening of Pieta House’s 10th centre in its ten year history, Brian Higgins, Pieta House CEO said the need to destigmatise mental health issues has never been more important.
“We need to challenge the stigma that leads people to Pieta House. The only way we can ever close the doors of this house, which is our ultimate ambition, is by each and every one of us addressing the stigmas that impact on us and, in turn, being aware of the punches that we can land on other people that make them fall and being conscious not to do that. Art helps to spark the discussion that breaks down this stigma and through our collaboration with Waterford Walls, A Lust for Life and Joe Caslin, we hope to make a difference in people’s lives”.
Waterford Walls will donate 10% of the proceeds of September’s sales from their online shop to Pieta House.
People affected by mental health issues are encouraged to seek help by speaking to a friend, family member, GP, therapist or free confidential helpline as the Pieta House 24/7 helpline at 1800 247 247.
Samaritans helpline is 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.