My book entitled “Mother and Child – A Secret Hidden In Stone” will be launched by UNICEF ambassador Donncha O’Callaghan in Bewley’s Café, Grafton Street on Thursday October 6th from 6.00pm-7.30pm.
The book will be available at Bewley’s Café for a recommended donation of €20, and the entire proceeds will go to UNICEF to help children at risk of famine.
Before departing from my original studio in Fairview, Dublin in 2005, I embarked on a 17-year odyssey during which I modelled, created, and cast the Mother and Child sculpture in various materials. This culminated in the Carrara marble version (carved by my friend Dario Tazzioli), which has been installed on permanent display at the Museo degli Innocenti.
The sculpture depicts a dear family friend Emily nursing her new-born daughter Coco. Coco was just five weeks old when her mother sat nursing her on a makeshift wooden revolving stand, as I moulded the new family into a life-size wax model. Over a period of six weeks we were warmed by a small gas fire, hot tea and conversations on life, love and loss in a small studio above a garage.
Being on permanent display in the Museo degli Innocenti is a tremendous honour and so fitting for the beautiful story of Emily and Coco as the museum is unique in exhibiting works of art relating to children. It is part of the oldest public institution in Italy, originally a convento, which has been devoted to the hospitality and protection of children, and their rights, for six centuries. During that time, up to 1,000 abandoned babies were taken into loving care every year, through a tiny portal in the front door.
The Institute now also houses UNICEF’s research centre for child wellbeing which carries out work into infant care and the importance of breastfeeding.
The lifesize bronze sculpture of “Mother and Child” will be on display in Bewley’s Café until the end of October 2022 together with an exhibition of the other sculptures.