THE eye-catching participants in the world’s largest public art display are on display across South Belfast, for the official Cow Parade 2012. A total of five fibreglass cows have been positioned across the south of the city, from St George’s Market to the Lisburn Road, as part of a total of 17 cows in Belfast. Others, including calf-size models, or “mini-moos” will be displayed at other locations across the North for the next few months.
The herd of model heifers first made their Irish debut at the Balmoral Show back in May, and since then have been brightly decorated by local community groups and artists for public display.
Originating in Chicago back in 1999, the display of painted cows parade has been staged in 75 cities across the globe, and it is estimated that over 300 million have witnessed the displays. The CowParade Global Ltd group behind the events first chose a cow design as it provides the best “three dimensional art canvass’ for local groups to use in exploring unique designs.
Once agreed by local community organisations, the final designs for cows are painted on by professional artists, for instance, the Ormeau Park cow was designed with the help of Annadale Chinese Resource Centre, and painted by artist Deepa Mann-Kler.
Meanwhile, the cow standing outside St George’s Market is sponsored by local group the Markets Development Association, and artist Mickey Doherty painted the design onto the life-size beast.
Speaking at the official launch of the parade, where the cows were displayed at the front of Belfast City Hall before going to their final display spots, CowParade’s Ron Fox predicted the “one of the most successful events ever” for the project.
Local parade organiser Rachel hart added: “CowParade has been in many cities all over the world, but what makes this event in Belfast so special is that, through our partners at Belfast City Council, we have been able to get so many community groups involved, representing every section of society in a diverse city. We even have the world’s first interface cow.”
Belfast Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson hoped tourists would follow the trail of cows across Belfast, and they would encourage visitors to fully explore the areas the cows “graze” in.
“CowParade is a vital element of our city dressing and marketing campaign in 2012, and I must commend the many artists and community groups across Belfast who have come together to create these wonderful, colourful cows,” he said.
“The fact that they will be located at locations also across Belfast also will encourage people to explore our beautiful city and they try to track them all down.”