This proposal sets out a process which is relational in nature, and rather than operating as a physically permanent object the project foregoes this traditional manifestation in order to activate a dialogical, cultural and historic relationship between those that are honoured and those who have the power to honour.
This work operates as a grand gesture, an unprecedented act of acknowledgement and honour. The ramifications of the work around the world and into the future might set an extraordinary example for redress and social healing, and to some extent begin to address the waves of disbelief and abhorrence which have emanated from our countries recent history.
The most important issue, as I see it, was and is an unquestioned acceptance of authority over the rights of the individual, and the welfare of the most vulnerable. I recently read an article by Fintan O Toole entitled, ‘art has not reflected our grief’ which discussed the notion of the public monument and its role as catalyst to not only bring our grief and anger into focus but to positively contextualise this grief and activate agency in pursuing and creating a better society. Although it might not be possible to redeem the past, this commemoration might speak of a willingness to embrace it, to acknowledge those who have suffered, to value and learn from their experience, in the resounding pursuit of a better society.
From this proposed point forward every child who opens a history book will learn of the present generation’s willingness to embrace the mistakes of the past and value those who have suffered so deeply. This is a commemoration not just to the survivors of institutional abuse, but to those who did not survive, those who have been implicated by history in their silence and failure to intervene, and to those who are brave enough to acknowledge our collective failing and move forward in a process of healing. The Institution of the state and its citizens would acknowledge and pay homage to those who have been treated so wrongly by offering the highest accolade possible to one who suffered due to its indifference.