The Face From Space – part deux

An emotional moment (but NO TEARS) in The Dock this week as we said our farewells to Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, the wonderful, nutty artist who has practically taken up residence in The Dock for the last 2 months while he was overseeing construction of the ‘Wish’ land-art project on the huge stretch of grass beside SS Nomadic.

A few weeks ago I posted a video of the work-in-progess – and now you can see a re-edited version put together by the gang at the Queens Festival, with lots more pics and interviews:

And after a monumental amount of hard work (pretty much none by me, I hasten to add), the finished project has been revealed:

wish belfast face of little girl 1I liked the idea as soon as Jorge explained it to us all those months ago – but the finished piece is so much more than I’d expected.  What a profound, wonderful work of art – the innocent, hopeful, quizzical smile of a little girl greeting those flying into Belfast city – maybe expecting to find a city full of grim or angry faces.  Jorge won’t tell us who she is or where she comes from – she could live down the street from any of us, and she expresses all our hopes for a brighter future.

wish belfast face of little girl 3The piece also resonates with me from a Christian point of view.  St Paul memorably wrote to the Corinthians: Now we see in a glass darkly…Then, face to face.  All the patterns and questions and doubts in our lives, which make no sense now, will one day become clear in God’s presence – just as the apparently random lines of earth and sand make sense – even more, become beautiful – in the helicopter view.  There’s no way of knowing what the finished picture will look like when we’re at ground level – we just keep digging and working with the pegs and markers we’ve got.

As winter progresses, the face will fade; snow will fall, grass will grow, erosion will take its course.  It’s all part of Jorge’s plan: a reminder that things change, evolve and fade.  He hasn’t sculpted a monument to stand in Belfast for all time: he has created something beautiful and profound for our present moment, this point in our story.  I love it.


Oh and PS – you know I started the campaign for the nickname ‘The Face From Space’ to go along with the Belfast trend – Nuala With the Hula, the Balls At The Falls…  Well it’s actually catching on!  Check out here and here to see more amazing aerial photos – and to see other people using the nickname!  Result!