This statue has to be my favourite throughout all of West Cork. It is called “Spirit of Love” and was installed in 2006. It is situated at the foot of the graveyard, overlooking the scenic inner harbour, as you come into Bantry town on the N71, Cork side.
Spirit of Love depicts two large bronze figures encircling a bronze mast and stands 5m high. It was commissioned by the Cork County Council to remember all those who have lost their lives at sea. It signifies both letting go and remembering. It was funded by the Per Cent for Art Scheme (a practical scheme established in 2004 to fund visual arts in Ireland).
Commissioned artist, Paddy Campbell , was first a successful business man in Ireland, Britain and America where he ran a thriving catering-to-coffee business. However, in 1996, he returned to his artistic roots via Florence Academy of Art and took various courses in drawing, painting and sculpture.
In 2005, Paddy Campbell established a studio in Florence and earned recognition as a sculptor of note. He had many public commissions including the official portrait of the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese in 2007.
Paddy’s works which aim to capture a moment in contemporary life “something you knew, but didn’t know you knew…..” have been acquired by international collectors in Ireland, Portugal, France, Turkey, UK, USA, Canada and Australia. A solo exhibition called “Un Altro Mondo” (Another World) at the Palazzo Comunale in Fiesole, Italy, 2009, attracted over 3500 visitors.
For more information on Paddy, his work and his reknowned collections visit http://www.paddycampbell.ie/