The athy shackleton
To celebrate the centenary of Ernest Shackleton and his crew's remarkable journey in the James Caird and rescue of the remainder of his men from Elephant Island on 30th August 1916, Kildare County Council commissioned a sculpture of Shackleton from me.
The 3.5m high sculpture was unveiled by The Hon. Alexandra Shackleton and Mayor Ivan Keatley on 30th August 2016 in Athy, Co. Kildare, near to Shackleton's place of birth.
'Mark's sympathetic interpretation of Shackleton's character, his consideration for materials and the environs where the artwork would be placed was exemplary. His meticulous research and ideas were clear and well-presented.'
Lucina Russell, Arts Officer, Kildare County Council
Ernest, you were sort of foisted on me within my work portfolio about 18 months ago and from the start you were trouble. Every element of the sculpture commission - the eTenders procurement process, the opposition to the sculpture from a small but vocal group (they called you a British mountaineer amongst other things you know), the tight timeframe, the location for the sculpture was tedious and stressful. You brought tears and sleepless nights and nightmares. Had it not been for the good humour and skill of sculptor Mark Richards, I may have gone insane in the run up to the installation. To keep an element of surprise for the formal unveiling, I was hoping that you would be quite literally under wraps during installation. That wasn't to be. En route to the oversee the installation, my phone beeped with photos and videos of the sculpture arriving in Emily Square in Athy. the reaction was an overall 'wow'. When your granddaughter was given a preview of the sculpture she walked away. I panicked that she didn't like the representation, when in fact she was overcome with emotion. Your official unveiling on 30th August last received worldwide media attention. I often visit you at weekends and without declaring my association, I enjoy the reaction to you from visitors. You really are a fine fella.
Your unveiling in the presence of the Irish Naval Service was not only one of last year's highlights, but also of my modest career. Like your Antarctic expeditions, to me it was 'epic'. So for that Ernest, congratulations; you are my Man of the Year 2016'
Lucina Russell, Facebook, 8/1/17
If you would like to discuss a commission, please
To further mark the occasion, I am issuing a limited edition bronze maquette, the profits from which will be donated to the Athy Heritage-Centre Museum. There are 50 available (24 remaining as of summer 2018) and each one is signed, numbered and dated by me.
For more details, please visit: https://shackletonstatue.com/