THE Pitch for Shane art installation, numbering some 20,000 clay figurines created in memory of Shane Geoghegan, is to remain open until the end of January next year, it has been announced.
The exhibition, painstakingly assembled by the slain rugby player’s aunt, ceramicist Margaret Walsh, was due to come to an end on December 23, but Limerick City Council have confirmed that it has been extended until the end of January and will continue to reside in Istbraq Hall in Limerick City Council offices, Merchant’s Quay.
Mrs Walsh greeted the news with relief.
“It is fabulous. I am delighted about that because it is so much more visual in the public eye. I am very pleased,” she said. “It is not just a pitch in memory of Shane, it is a pitch that is self explanatory, it attracts everyone, you don’t have to know any story behind it. It is challenging, but I think it is a piece that really does stand on its own.”
The installation is intended to be a “metaphorical pitch” in honour of Shane Geoghegan and was unveiled in November on the third anniversary of his murder. Three years to the day since he was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity, his family came together to unveil what is in effect a colossal work of art, possibly one of the single largest art exhibitions in the country.
Shane’s aunt said the reaction to it had been “extraordinary”.
“Everyone that comes in, their first expression is ‘wow’,” she laughed. “They look at it and stagger back and see what a wonderful tribute to the city it is, as well as Shane. What I like about it is the schools are using it as an educational tool. Loads of kids have been in to see it.”
Mrs Walsh admitted that a long term plan for the installation had yet to be determined, but said she strongly welcomed suggestions from the public as to what should be done with it. Mayor of Limerick Cllr Jim Long, recently echoed her sentiments, declaring that it “is not acceptable to me that this exhibition be broken up and put behind closed doors”.
The exhibition will remain open until the end of January from Monday - Friday, 9am - 5.30pm (closed from 4pm December 23 until January 3).