PHOTOS: New Sculpture Is A Hit With Pupils And Staff At Blennerville School

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At the new sculpture in Blennerville NS were, at back, pupils Alan Bak, Conor O’Neill, Katelyn Laide, Rhianna O’Brien and Uchuko Efegbare. In front; Principal of Blennerville NS Terry O’Sullivan, artist Marjorie Cunningham, teacher Louise Brassil and art teacher Ann O’Shea Daly. Photo by Dermot Crean

A NEW sculpture created at Blennerville National School is proving a big hit with staff and pupils since it was installed during the summer break.

The school commissioned an art project for the school yard, funded through the Government’s Per Cent for Art Scheme.

A local award-winning sculptor, Marjorie Cunningham from Rathanny, Tralee, was chosen from several design submissions received from artists around the country, to create a sculpture that would be functional, appeal to both children and parents, would reflect the school’s ethos and was representative of the Patron Saint of the school, St. Brendan the Navigator.

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The recently completed sculpture of a child holding the sail of a boat is called ‘Explore. Dream. Discover.’ and it is hoped will ignite the spirit of adventure in all who see it.

The new sculpture at Blennerville NS. Photo by Dermot Crean

It is now a focal point in the school – pupils play on it, teachers hold story time on the starboard of the boat as well as taking class group photographs on the steps, and parents use it as a meeting point at collection time.

The large sculpture depicts a child, of about 10 years old, holding up the sail to a boat and the sail forms a shelter for waiting parents and children.

An amphitheatre of steps suggest the interior of the boat where children sit and stand in for play and for photo opportunities. These steps are wonderful for outdoor story time.

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The new sculpture at Blennerville NS. Photo by Dermot Crean

The bow and stern of the ship are now permanent structures in the yard along with its plexiglas transparent sail and steel mast. A basic Christian cross, like the one from St. Brendan’s era has been painted by the artist onto the sail.

Marjorie Cunningham is an award-winning sculptor and has achieved much credibility in designing and creating this project.

“I wanted to run it in line with the architecture of the playground. The windmill is in the background too and the child figure represents St Brendan on his journey a well as the children’s journey through school life,” said Marjorie, who is originally from Waterford but has been living in Kerry for 35 years.

The school would like to thank the Committee who worked with Marjorie to finalise the project: Principal Terry O’Sullivan, Deputy Principal Louise Brassil, Art Teacher Ann O’Shea Daly from Mercy Mounthawk School and parent Michelle Culloo.

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