Cork Pride has expressed their anger and dismay after two artworks by the group’s artist in residence Stephen Doyle were ripped and removed from their confirmations at Sullivan’s Quay on Friday.
Two works by award-winning artist Stephen Doyle – which took months to complete – were both taken down and removed from their mountings and have not yet been returned.
In a statement today, Cork Pride said:
“We are disappointed, upset and angry. This site has been vandalized several times during the Artist-in-Residence installation and the UP Cork LGBT Youth Project mural at this site has been vandalized repeatedly during Cork Pride last year.
“We will not be silenced and the homophobes will not win. We are a resilient community and such acts only serve to encourage us and redouble our efforts. If you have any information please contact Cork Pride, Stephen Doyle of An Garda Siochana,” the statement added.
The group also said Gardai had been notified and requested information from the public or neighboring homes and businesses.
“The process of searching the neighboring homes and businesses starts today – there will be some CCTV footage; someone must have seen something somewhere, this is Cork city centre,” they concluded.
Award-winning local artist Stephen Doyle, the artist behind the paintings for Cork Pride, has also issued a statement regarding the missing artwork.
He said: “To say I’m upset is an understatement, but I’m not shocked. I’ve spent countless hours working with Cork Pride to get this project off the ground and get it to this point.
“This body of work is inspired by the LGBTQ+ community in Cork, in particular members of the Gay Project and LINC. The paintings depict individuals from both groups interacting in built safe spaces.
Recent events in Ireland have reminded us how far we still have to go as a society and how important these spaces are to the queer community. We need these spaces to share our experiences, bond, heal and find our families. By developing this body of work in a public space like this, it reflects the level of vulnerability we feel when we walk down the street.”
Mr Doyle said he had been on site at Sullivan’s Quay for months painting both works and said most people were “friendly and curious” about the artwork but added that he had also been the subject of homophobic and anti -LGBTQ+ comments.
“It should be noted that a number of people spat homophobic and anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric at me while I was working. I’d rather not speculate at this point as to why anyone would take the job, but given the amount of effort it would take to removing them meant that someone really wanted them far from public space.”
“I’m looking for information, even if you could tell me when you last saw it on site, I’d really appreciate it. All I’m looking for is the return from work, I harbor no evil intentions towards whoever took them,” concluded the Backwater Studios artist.
Gardai has confirmed that they are investigating a theft incident that occurred at an intersection on Meade Street in Cork city, which was reported on June 24, adding that the investigation is ongoing.
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