The Balance Between Abundance and Excess by Renowned Artist Conor Harrington

Pat McDonnell Paints recognise the importance of supporting the communities within which it trades and are honoured to have been asked to support this initiative through the sponsorship of the paint used to create these beautiful works of art on the streets of Cork city. 

Ardú Street Art project made a triumphant to Cork city for their second edition, bringing some of the country’s most exciting street artists to create thought-provoking, large-scale murals across the cityscape: Friz’s “Goddess Cliodhna” at St Finbarr’s Road, Shane O’Malley’s bold and bright coloured angular shapes and colours on Lower Glanmire Road, Asbestos’ “What is home?” at South Main Street.

The fourth and final piece of the current series has now been revealed, painted by Cork-born, world renowned artist Conor Harrington at Bishop Lucey Park (Grand Parade entrance). Based in London since the mid 2000s, Harrington has created street art in New York, Miami, Paris, London, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Aalborg, Mallorca, Sao Paulo, San Juan, and the Bethlehem Wall; this is Conor’s first large-scale mural in his hometown.

Speaking about his mural Harrington said, his favourite part of Cork is the English market and that he used the English Market as a starting point for his mural, the gate of which is opposite his wall. The English market was built in 1788 and has seen us through famine, boom and bust.  

Conor's mural tells a beautiful story of the history of Cork City.

Conor says, "In my painting, a man sets a table, a composition of fruit and veg in the manner of a lot of still life paintings from the 18th Century, when the English market and much of the Grand Parade and Patrick’s Street was built. The table is overflowing with fruit, an abundance of fresh produce that has been available in the market for years. I’ve included a doll’s house on the table to illustrate how Cork is a city built on food and how our culinary scene is one of our greatest assets. I’ve also included a fire extinguisher on the table as a reminder of the Burning of Cork 101 years ago, and that although the market was mostly spared, damage was still done."

This artwork not only beautifully echoes the rich legacy the English Market offers Cork City but a reflection on power dynamics and the delicate balance between abundance and excess. 

Conor explained that, "In the mural I’ve played with proportion and inverted the traditional scale of figure and dwelling to exacerbate the idea of the Georgian figure as a looming power or Lord over his domain. In my work I examine the role and legacy of the empire, and try to find parallels in contemporary culture. By including the doll’s house as a reference to home, housing and the current crisis in Ireland and the abundant fruit table which is in a state of overflow and collapse, I’m asking the question to whom does power and plenty belong?"

"Despite this historical foundation, my mural is ultimately about the balance of abundance and excess, and the fall which inevitably follows” - Artist, Conor Harrington

“Here at Pat McDonnell Paints, we are firm believers in how paint can transform the spaces we live in. We were delighted to support Ardú and their artists bring colour and vibrancy to Cork City.
140 litres of paint tinted in over 22 colours and Conor Harrington’s talent and vision have given us a modern day masterpiece in a corner of Bishops Lucey Park.” – Aidan McDonnell, Pat McDonnell Paints.