A Mayo blacksmith is teaming up with Irish humanitarian agency, GOAL, on its garden entry at the Bloom Festival, which takes place in the Phoenix Park in Dublin over the June Bank Holiday weekend.
Titled "A Chothú agus a Chosaint", (to nurture and protect ), the GOAL garden, with the theme of migration and displacement, will chart the harrowing journey of the millions who are uprooted from their homes every year due to war, conflict or natural disaster. According to the UN there are an estimated 68.5 million displaced men, women and children in the world, 25.4 million whom are refugees.
Award winning Mayo ironworker, John Hogan from Killala, has crafted the garden centrepiece, a Tree of Life, which marks the start of a migrant’s often arduous journey.
According to Hogan, the concept of a Tree of Life has been used in many different fields such as religion, science, and mythology. He said: "The Celts believed that trees had powers and provided people with food and shelter. When a Celtic tribe cleared new lands for settlement, they always left one tree in the middle known as the "Crann Bethadh" or Tree of Life.
"My Tree of Life represents different qualities such as wisdom, strength, protection, beauty, bounty and redemption. The tree is associated with a creator because it provides protection, support, abundant fruit and thereby regeneration. I think it is an ideal fit for the GOAL garden and its theme of migration. I am delighted to be involved."
The sculpture, created at Hogan’s workshop in Killala, is forged and fabricated from solid stainless steel which was heated and pressed into shape. The garden is designed by Adrian Eggers of Living Designs Landscapes.
The Tree of Life marks the start of the migrant’s journey with water flowing from the tree symbolising regeneration and life-giving powers. Coloured glass balls represent the fragility of the lives of the displaced as they move from devastation to a new future. And the migrants journey ends in a place of safety and opportunity, represented by four giant urns reflecting GOAL’s four main work pillars - Emergency Response, Nutrition, Health and Livelihoods.
GOAL Ceo, Siobhan Walsh, said: “GOAL is delighted to be featuring John Hogan’s unique sculpture in our Bloom garden this year and thank him for his involvement. We have a responsibility to put a spotlight on migrations issues. We have seen the harrowing images in the media of migrants and those displaced who have lost their homes, and whose lives have been put at risk as they try desperately to reach safety.“
“GOAL is proud of the work it is doing nurturing and protecting those supporting those displaced, and through our Bloom garden we are keen to highlight the issue and to inform visitors on one of the most serious human issues facing our world today.”