The Belfast Ball

Flagship public art sculpture unveiled in Belfast

A design plan for the biggest public art sculpture in Belfast, which will be situated at a main gateway to the city, has been unveiled. 

‘Rise’ will be built at Broadway Roundabout by the artist Wolfgang Buttress and will stand at 123 ft high (37.5 metres) by 98.4ft wide (30 metres). 

The breathtaking globe shaped white and silver aluminium sculpture - a representation of a new sun rising to celebrate a new chapter in the history of Belfast - will be visible from several miles away when it is constructed in 2009. 

The sculpture will be funded by Belfast City Council, the Department for Social Development and the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. 

Buttress was selected after intense competition from more than 40 artists from Ireland, the United Kingdom and internationally. An experienced artist and sculptor from Birmingham, he has produced public art pieces for cities across the United Kingdom and has had exhibitions in Japan and the USA.

'I am very pleased and honoured to be given the opportunity to create this new artwork for the people of Belfast,' Buttress declared during the unveiling. 'I am looking forward to forging new relationships and cementing existing ones. I hope that the symbol of the rising sun will be inspiring. This sculpture will work on many levels and will be appreciated both intimately and from afar.'

Following in the footsteps of Glasgow and Barcelona, which are renowned for their public art, ‘Rise’ will be a landmark piece of art for Belfast, the largest structure of its kind in the city. 

Lord Mayor Councillor Tom Hartley sees the sculpture as a symbol of the future for Belfast: 

'More than two million vehicles travel past the roundabout at Broadway every month. This sculpture will be a welcoming beacon to Belfast for local people and tourists. It is symbolic of the revitalisation of Belfast and will be timeless.' 

Buttress will now be encouraging input from local people living near the landmark sculpture, and will be holding creative workshops with groups from the Greater Village and St James’ areas of Belfast.