The Belfast Festival at Queen’s in Northern Ireland opened in a big way this year with an 11-acre portrait of a young girl titled “Wish.” The land art piece constructed out of natural materials with satellite technology is the creation of acclaimed Cuban-American artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada. The artist explained his inspiration to BBC News, “The little girl was a little girl that I met walking through the streets of Belfast, and the idea that came to me was, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to take a picture of this little girl making a wish and then see what happens with that idea.’ If everybody jumps on to sort of make that very pure and simple look, into something very profound and large.”
Rodriguez-Gerada, the festival’s very first artist in residence, worked alongside other artists, construction workers, volunteers and community groups to build the large-scale piece that the Belfast Telegraph called the United Kingdom & Ireland’s largest land art portrait. The project 18-months in the making had an impressive materials list of 30,000 wooden pegs, over 2,200 tons of sand, more than 2,200 tons of soil along with grass, stone and string. They plowed the field in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast and after a month of production, the image of a 6-year-old anonymous girl could be seen. Volunteer Amy Wagner said, “When you’re down there you know it’s supposed to make sense but you can’t make much sense of it. So whenever you come up and you actually see the progress you’ve made for the day or the week um, it’s phenomenal.” Tours will allow visitors to view the work from above in the surrounding tall buildings and also see the work up close at ground level. The Belfast Festival runs through October 27, but Wish will be in place (weather permitting) until December 2013.