'Culture is the space to which we turn to quench our human need to inhabit communal utopian spaces – even when such spaces are ephemeral.'

Talking Between Statues in Create Ireland News

Check a short excert here and download the full piece.

'Wandering from Galway’s Eyre Square into Shop Street the frst thing the visitor encounters is a bronze statue of Oscar Wilde sitting on a bench next to his contemporary Estonian writer Eduard Wilde. This is a replica of a statue which resides outside an Irish pub in Tartu, Estonia and was given to Galway as a gift in 2004 by Estonia, marking their entry into the European Union in the same year. These two men never met and, as far as I know, they never corresponded. But if they had, what would they have discussed?

There is a physical space between these two seated bronze figures which invites the passerby to sit down and imagine that conversation. If the visitor needs cultural orientation she or he can look down and read inscriptions engraved into the foor either side of the writers.

Alongside Oscar’s statue are the words, “It is only by contact with the art of foreign nations that the art of a country gains that individual and separate life that we call nationality”. Eduard’s words add, “Art is, must be, universal – no national walls should be allowed to partition or divide us”. Both men’s words are engraved in English and Estonian.

A statue of Oscar Wilde and Eduard Wilde in the middle of Galway is a cultural intervention embedded into a contemporary political initiative. It creates a conversation between two men about art, culture and nationhood which never happened. The real conversation is left to happen between us. Plenty of unexpected yet welcome room for interpretive ambiguity in a very public space and place.' ... 

Chris Baldwin