Garrett Phelan TGBS Drawing

THE GOLDEN BANDSTAND - Sculpture (2024) by artist Garrett Phelan, has been created as an open sculpture for all and can be used and enjoyed by the community of Grangegorman and beyond. It is situated between TU Dublin’s Greenway and Central Quad, close to the D7 Educate Together and the HSE Primary Care Centre and one of the green fingers envisaged in the Grangegorman Masterplan.

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At the same time this is a very contemporary sculpture with many layers of meaning. Phelan’s love of birds and music filters throughout the sculpture, topped by the curlew one of Ireland’s most endangered species. Texts along the archways speak to the users in the adjacent buildings. The design of ‘THE GOLDEN BANDSTAND - Sculpture’ appropriates the past whilst being positioned in the contemporary. The initial familiarity with the bandstand’s form from rock/punk gigs of the 70’s/80’s is offset by its unexpected golden surface and on closer inspection by the contemporary symbols and motifs used in its decorative railings and garlands. These contemporary symbols reference Garrett Phelan’s wider practice and include an array of radios, microphones, birds and text ephemera.

The concept of ‘THE GOLDEN BANDSTAND - Sculpture’ was directly influenced by personal experience of the artist and the progressive methodology of Dr. Joseph Lalor during his tenure as Medical Superintendent at the Richmond District Asylum from 1857 -1886. Dr. Lalor used singing, painting, reading and learning programmes and the arts in general as a central part of his therapeutic practice for his patients, acknowledging in a visionary way the importance of engagement with creativity and beauty to our emotional wellbeing.

As evidenced in his ongoing  THE HIDE PROJECT for Fingal County Council, and more recently his exhibition FREETHOUGHT FM in the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Phelan is a leading artist in contemporary art, consistently pushing perceptions about art and sculpture. Over the past three decades, Phelan has created original and contextually critical work in Ireland and abroad, relevant to contemporary concerns. By appropriating recognisable forms, Phelan’s art practice is part of the generation that is imaginatively making a new Ireland.

Funded by the Irish government’s Per Cent for Art Scheme, ‘THE GOLDEN BANDSTAND - Sculpture’ was commissioned by the Grangegorman Development Agency on behalf of its stakeholders HSE, TU Dublin and the local community. This commission as part of the Grangegorman ‘lives we live…’ Public Art programme forms part of the redevelopment of the Grangegorman area. Garrett Phelan was awarded the commission through open competition and selected by an international Jury chaired by Dr. Ciaran Benson.

Speaking about the work Garrett Phelan says: " ‘THE GOLDEN BANDSTAND - Sculpture’ is envisaged as a symbol that acknowledges and transcends the legacy of the physical/metaphysical archaeology and architecture of the past within grangegorman. The sculpture revisits and expands on the most progressive aspects of that history and integrates them into the contemporary aspirations of the present and future for the entire community of this special location."