C.S. Lewis-inspired artwork revealed for our new C.S. Lewis Civic Sq.

Author C.S. Lewis is to be honoured with a series of public art pieces within our C.S. Lewis Civic Square near his east Belfast birthplace at the Holywood Arches. The new space, currently under construction at Holywood Arches as part of the Connswater Community Greenway, will be brought to life with six sculptures inspired by classic children’s novel The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Artist Maurice Harron has been commissioned to create the installations, with work due to get underway this month. Under his proposals, visitors to the square - at the heart of the 9km greenway - will be greeted by characters from Narnia, including the White Witch, Mr Tumnus and Mr and Mrs Beaver. The highlight will be a three metre high sculpture of Aslan the lion. 

“I’m delighted to step ‘through the wardrobe’ and take on the challenge of recreating the magic of Narnia, right on C.S. Lewis’ own doorstep,” said Harron, whose previous works include the acclaimed Reconciliation/Hands Across the Divide sculpture in Carlisle Square, Derry/Londonderry.

“These artworks will be central to the civic square and provide a fitting tribute to one of Belfast’s most famous sons. Their locations will reflect each character’s role in the story, inviting visitors to ‘turn the page’ as they explore this new space.

“I want to recreate the emotions within Lewis’ world, so that - like Lucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan - you never quite know what’s around the corner.”

(Top: Artist Maurice Harron reveals his C.S. Lewis inspired artwork for our C.S. Lewis Square. Bottom: Some of the initial ideas for the artwork)

The sculptures will be located on woodland drumlins within the square, and further enhanced with seasonal planting and individual LED lighting, similar to that already in place at another key greenway location, the Sam Thompson Bridge in Victoria Park.

Story panels and QR code technology will encourage visitors to read more about the characters and their creator, and local people will also have a chance to get involved, through outreach activities undertaken by the artist as he develops his vision.

The area around the planned civic square already boosts strong links to Lewis, who was born in Dundela Avenue and grew up in nearby Strandtown. It is home to The Searcher, a bronze recreation of Narnia’s famous wardrobe, while new facade art was recently installed by community groups to celebrate the author’s literary achievements.

The space itself is expected become a focal point for outdoor performances, markets and other community events when it opens in spring 2016. Street furniture, interpretative signage and landscaping will also feature in the square, which will eventually link the Connswater Community Greenway sections already completed at Victoria and Orangefield Parks with works currently underway at Mersey Street, Orby Road and other locations across the east of the city.