Art Commissions > Newcastle Airport Commission
Newcastle Airport Commission
2001, Acrylic on calico on board
4 x 2 cm

Based on a research journey to Belfast, Antrim and the Black Mountains organised by Gill Airways. The centre panel is from drawings and photos made near the Harland and Wolff shipyard, the terrace street where the shipbuilders lived. Left panel is Dunluce Castle looking towards Derry from drawings made on location. The right panel is from the Black Mountains looking south towards Dublin.
Each 'scene' connects via a ghostly black figure who walks out from the street scene into the landscape setting. This reflects in some way how a predominantly rural landscape is dominated by the politically troubled city and economic engine of Belfast. In the landscape panels only animals occupy the space whereas in the city humans dominate.
A transatlantic jet trail peeking between the clouds above Belfast is a reminder of how interconnected the world is and that once Belfast was strongly connected to international travel and trade via the shipyard which built the Olympic and Titanic, then the world's largest ships designed to take people to the America in large numbers including Irish emigrants.
Special Branch came to the studio before the painting was hung to check that there was no information in the painting which might be a problem. As result they asked me to change the number plate on a vehicle! No reason was given but it had to be done. It made me wonder who had been watching me on Parker Street off Newtonards Road in Belfast when I sat on my stool to draw and take photos! Nobody took any apparent notice but I felt very exposed doing it.0
©2004 Tom McElderry