Art installation at Limerick’s Hunt Museum causes public concern

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

This installation, by Mungret artist Kevin O'Shea, caused quite a stir on Culture Night. Picture: Alan Place/Fusionshooters.
THE presence of a figure on the window-sill of the Hunt Museum caused concerned members of the public to call the gardai.

THE presence of a figure on the window-sill of the Hunt Museum caused concerned members of the public to call the gardai.

Revellers enjoying Culture Night in Limerick were concerned at the sight of what looked like a young man seemingly asleep on the window sill on the second floor at the Rutland Street venue.

Calls were made to the gardai amid fears the man was going to jump.

In fact, the figure was made from chicken wire, and put together by Mungret artist Kevin O’Shea, as part of an installation called ‘Studio Live’.

A graduate of the Limerick School of Art and Design, Kevin had seven figures at the Fab Lab opposite, and positioned an eighth in the window of the Hunt Museum.

Despite the fact Kevin informed the gardai on the morning of Culture Night, members of the force attended the Hunt Museum four times on the night.

Kevin said both Henry Street and Roxboro garda stations received around 500 telephone calls on Friday night.

“I was delighted, as it got 500 people interested in the show,” the artist joked.

Kevin - who describes his show as “an intervention of progression and modern, urban art” - had a similar incident five years ago when he placed a life-sized figure on the O’Connell Street side of the George Boutique Hotel.

At that time, he said, two ambulances were in attendance, as well as the fire service, plus four squad cars.

Part of the main thoroughfare was closed off, he added.

This is one of the main reasons the artist - who does a lot of support work for suicide awareness charity Pieta House - informed the gardai of the installation this time around.

Naomi O’Nolan, head of exhibitions at the Hunt Museum, confirmed calls were made to the gardai.

“They got phone calls to say there was someone asleep on the window sill. But the artist had already told them it was an installation,” Naomi told the Limerick Leader.

Limerick City Business Association chairperson Helen O’Donnell, who runs the Hunt Museum Cafe, added: “I believe the guards called three times as people alerted to them that there was someone asleep. It was interesting. I guess it was quite sensitive for some people.”

Ms O’Donnell said the museum was “incredibly busy”, with almost 4,000 attending during Culture Night.

There was almost 90 free events across Limerick for Culture Night, which was marking its seventh consecutive year in Limerick.

A national initiative, the aim of the event is to celebrate culture, creativity and the arts. Venues extended their opening hours to allow increased access to the public