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'Proclamation' By Rowan Gillespie - 1916 Rising Executed Leaders [Kilmainham Square]
Proclamation has, as its backdrop, the courthouse in which James Creed Meredith presided when he was a Circuit Court Judge. Fourteen figures stand in a megalithic circle, at the centre of which is a plaque containing a copy of the Proclamation of Independence, engraved in bronze. Each figure has at its base a small plaque, engraved with the name and the British military tribunal’s verdict and sentence of death. The figures are perforated with bullet holes. Since the original commission was for the seven signatories of the Proclamation, Gillespie has donated the other seven martyrs to the site himself.

The figures are limbless, but far from lifeless. Fourteen martyrs stand united in a circle, blindfolded, as they would be for execution. The disturbing nature of these figures recalls the influence of Edvard Munch on the artist; and the desire to strip away the inessential differences of face and form and depict the essential nature of a raw emotion. Unlike the Migrants and the figures of Famine, the bronze of the martyrs is not left in its raw state, nor is their portrayal ‘realistic’. Almost alien, these figures are smooth and reflective, as if to suggest that they are essentially ‘more spirit than flesh’. The light reflecting off the multi-faceted surfaces of each figure ‘bouncing off one another’ (as they did in spirit) - is like a metaphor for imagination itself. In the spirit of James Creed Meredith’s Rainbow in the Valley – their voices curl and twist through space and a new light is formed, shining its rays like all the colours of the rainbow.

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