Ardú was born in Leeside during the lockdown of October 2020, initially bringing seven of Ireland’s most respected and renowned street artists to create giant murals at key city-centre locations. Due to phenomenal community engagement and support, the event returned in 2021 with four more walls.
You can find murals by Deirdre Breen, Maser, James Earley, Peter Martin, Shane O’Driscoll, Aches, Garreth Joyce, Shane O’Malley, Friz, Conor Harrington, and Asbestos.
Over the past few weeks, the Ardú crew took to the man lifts and ladders, revealing three more large-scale murals in the city by some of the most exciting names on the international scene – Claire Prouvost, Kitsune Jolene, and VENTS137.
Claire Prouvost’s mural can be found at Shandon Street.
“The design is inspired by the Firkin Crane dance centre around the corner. This mural is a hint to the location of the iconic building. I wanted to represent the energy and movement of dance, music, theater and performance arts, and how it connects human beings. Cork and Ireland overall have an ancestral culture of dance and music that is still evolving to this day, from traditional to more contemporary performances. The cheerful colour palette is a visual representation of the various artforms as well as the impact of dance on our wellbeing, for both the performers and the public.” Claire Prouvost
Kitsune Jolene mural can be found at Sullivan’s Quay.
“The mural I’ve painted is a twist on the mythology around Celtic mother goddess Danu, combined with the river Lee running through Cork alongside my piece on Sullivans Quay which reflects the Milky Way on clear nights.
I like to think that even today, no matter who you meet or cross paths with on the streets, they could be gods in disguise. These ‘modern classics’ are a lot of fun for me to do as a take on that. The woman I’ve painted is a bit anonymous with just the sliver of her face visible, adding to the notion she could be anyone, passing through the streets of Cork. The stars and galaxies are spinning out of her red hair as a nod to the movement and flow of the river, the heart and soul of Cork City shaping and defining the energy of the city.” Kitsune Jolene
“The truth is not known, beneath the sky of stars, Whether they were of heaven or earth.” A line from a poem out of The Book of Invasions (Lebor Gebála Érénn compiled c.1150)
“This mural represents 40 years of experiencing cork, a far cry from an outsider, yet born on the other side of the sea. Deep in a heritage from both sides, life so similar yet so different. A youth spent in dusty back-room bars, listening to stories from my grandma of a bygone age. The illuminated bar lights on the walls outside, the melee of cheer and excitement contained within. The black booze, the white puffs of smoke, those crisps!
Introductions to wall writing from names I’d never meet to those long since gone. Friendships and lifelong connections spawned from spray painting graffiti pieces across the road in White Street Car Park. I spent many nights and long days painting in here, up ladders and my last piece of graffiti I was involved in painting there is still there as a reminder to all the residents of the new housing of the history that car park represents.
The area of South Terrace and White Street car park is one of the oldest graffiti halls of fame in Irish graffiti history so my wall is a nod to corks history but also the history of this area and the artists who have come through such as Conor Harrington, Maser, Aches and James Earley. Every visit over the years brings a new madness but a warm sense of home.” Vents137
Vents137 mural can be found at South Terrace.
These inspiring pieces of work dotted across the city significantly add to the city centre’s cultural landscape. They’ve spurred conversations on the ground and shared widely online.
Ardú Street Art Project is the brainchild of visual artist and designer Shane O’Driscoll, muralist, stained-glass artist and secondary school teacher Peter Martin, and organiser of the annual Cork Graffiti Jam, Paul Gleeson. The project was managed by Rose-Anne Kidney of Goldiefish Events and made possible with generous support from Cork City Council and Creative Ireland.
Ardú Street Art Project is made possible with generous support from Cork City Council and the Creative Ireland Programme – an all-of-government five-year initiative from 2017 to 2022, which places creativity at the centre of public policy. Further information from creativeireland.gov.ie
Photo Credit Clare Keogh