Have you herd the moos?
Published: Mon, 6 Aug 2012
A herd of fibreglass cows has come to graze in Northern Ireland as part of CowParade, an art event that has already been successfully received in 75 cities across the world.
The Housing Executive’s Community Cohesion Unit was delighted to submit applications for an inter-community cow for East Belfast and an inter-cultural cow for South Belfast. As two of only 15 designs selected for the ‘Cow-moonity’ programme all those who had a ‘steak’ in the cows are thrilled. Coincidentally both cows are called Annabelle.
The ultimate goal of CowParade is to raise money for charity. In Northern Ireland, Barnardo’s NI and Depaul Ireland will be benefiting when the cows are auctioned at the end of the parade. The parade has raised millions for charity, with some individual cows being sold for a fantastic amount of money - in 2003 a cow designed by John Rocha, covered in Waterford crystal mosaics, sold for over €100,000 and in 2011 a cow, or rather a bull, covered in pennies sold for $150,000 in Texas. Oprah Winfrey, Ringo Starr & Elton John can be counted amongst the cows owners.
The Chinese Welfare Association and the Annadale and Haywood Residents’ Association came together to work on the South Belfast Cow. Community Development Worker, Jeanette McMillan, said, “From the very start of this project we wanted to show how our area has embraced its different cultures and our amazing artist Deepa Mann-Kler completely understood the importance of this. Annabelle represents the multicultural make up of the area and illustrates inward migration but also, by letting the children add their faces to the world map she makes us think that we never know which part of the world our children will be living in the future. Annabelle may move to pastures new but we will still be milking the benefits.”
The Short Strand Community Forum, Lower Castlereagh Community Group, Ballymac Friendship Trust and the Oasis Group came together for the East Belfast project. Sam White from Lower Castlereagh Community Group explains, “This project really got us thinking from the start about what we wanted to say regarding our area and with the help of our amazing artist Rosheen Heath, we came up with Annabelle. But through the thought process we looked again at what we’re all about as a community and what we want people to see us as and what we want our children to see. It was really therapeutic and the end result is fantastic – we hope it raises loads of money - after all it is the world’s first interface cow!”
Our Community Cohesion Unit works with a range of groups across the city and beyond to assist communities moving forward on themes including re-imaging, inter community work, interfaces and race relations. Our Belfast Community Cohesion Advisor, Connor Smith, said, “It is always a great pleasure to be involved in the many important projects that roll out throughout the year in our local communities. But the CowParade is particularly special because the benefits are two-fold. The obvious benefits will come at the end of the project when the cows are auctioned and the money is given to the charities. But the other benefit, which is equally important to us, is seeing the community groups coming together and collaborating in a positive way and producing yet more positive steps towards building better communities.”
Rachel Hart from Asitis Consulting, the organisers of CowParade NI, added, “It has been an absolute pleasure working with so many community groups across the city on this exciting public art project. We’re delighted with the cows, they are real beauties– many congratulations to all those who worked so hard to bring them to life!"
The Belfast cows are currently grazing at the City Hall but will soon be moo-ving on with the East Belfast cow going to the junction of Albertbridge Road/Castlereagh Street and the Annadale cow going back to South Belfast where it will be munching the grass in Ormeau Park.
Further information about CowParade can be found at www.cowparadeni.com