Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Irish Potato Famine: The Sculpture of Rowan Gillespie
The Irish Potato Famine and the deliberate genocidal ethnic cleansing by the British stand as one of the most horrific human rights tragedies ever in the history of the world. One million Irish people starved to death when a blight destroyed the potato crop for many years. Potatoes were the staple of the Irish diet. The English took all the other edible crops out of Ireland, and used them inside their already well-stocked pantries. The English "solution" to the starving Irish was to tell them to leave Ireland forever, creating one of the worst diasporas ever in modern history.
One Irish artist, Rowan Gillespie, created sculptures of the famine victims at a famine memorial at the Customs House Quay in Dublin, Ireland. He also created the sculptures which are part of the Ireland Park Foundation in Toronto, where many of the victims of the Irish famine fled in what became known as the "Coffin Ships," and often died lined up outside of Canada, forbidden to enter, locked into ship holds without adequate food or water.