Minister supports iconic art installations in Bangor

Date published: 13 March 2024

Communities Minister Gordon Lyons has announced funding for three iconic art installations in Bangor.

Photogaph of Minister Lyons with officials at Bangor Waterfront

The Bangor Waterfront Art Installation, by renowned artist and Bangor resident Colin Davidson, will showcase the ‘new’ Bangor City Centre in the context of the substantial investment being brought to the City by the Queen’s Parade and Bangor Waterfront City Deal projects.

Minister Lyons made his announcement during a visit to The Court House in Bangor, where he received an update from Ards and North Down Borough Council on the Bangor Waterfront Redevelopment and from Bangor Marine on the Queen’s Parade Development.

The main art piece, to be situated along the Waterfront, will be a six-metre-tall set of hands entitled ‘Hope Returning’, with the two smaller sculptures to be located at Pickie Park and Eisenhower Pier.

Minister Lyons said: 

“These unique artworks will be a welcome addition to the Bangor Marina area. They will create a clear sense of arrival in the city, delivering increased tourism numbers and economic benefits.”

Each bronze-cast piece will include a QR code linking people to information and stories of the area, enabling them to interact with the Borough’s unique history and heritage on a number of levels. Lighting will also be used to bring these stories to life, providing further opportunities by inviting people of all ages to interact with the art and cast their own shadows, therefore making their own stories.

The Minister continued: 

“We have seen in other places around the world, such as the Angel of the North in Gateshead, the UK-wide Poppies: Weeping Willow Exhibition, and the Giants of the Sperrins; how art-led-regeneration has the potential to improve the image of a city or place. It creates iconic attractions, increases civic pride, and raises the profile and international reputation of the area. This project will deliver a range of benefits to Bangor and the wider area, including increased city centre footfall and visitor numbers, economic stimulus, and the creation of a strong sense of place and focal point for the city."

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Jennifer Gilmour commented: 

“Many cities are renowned for their public art as a focal point for residents and an attraction for visitors. As Bangor moves forward to realise the potential of two very significant investment opportunities over the next 5 to 10 years, this landmark installation will both help to pave the way for, and support the potential of, these game changing developments in our new city.” 

Artist Colin Davidson added: 

“As a long-time resident of Bangor, it is a true honour and privilege for me to have been invited to offer my artistic input on the exciting regeneration of this part of our city. My hope for this series of bronze artworks is that they will offer visitors and locals alike many unique, engaging, and interactive opportunities to participate personally and learn about the history and heritage of this beautiful part of our coastline."

Notes to editors: 

  1. Photo caption: Councillor Jennifer Gilmour, Mayor of Ards and North Down Borough Council, Minister Lyons, artist Colin Davidson and Dominic Lavery, Managing Director Farrans and Director Bangor Marine. 
  2. The main piece of the Bangor Waterfront Art Installation will be a six-metre-tall set of hands entitled ‘Hope Returning’. The two hands will cast the shadow of a Dove, linking to the unique history of St Columbanus, who left Bangor in c590 and bought his message of hope across Europe.
  3. The smaller pieces are proposed to be located at Pickie Park and Eisenhower Pier and are sculptures of hands creating the shape of a crab and a swan, again reflecting Bangor’s relationship with the water, and the locations along the waterfront.
  4. Colin Davidson is a globally renowned contemporary visual artist living and working in Bangor. His work is held in many public and corporate collections worldwide, including Queen’s University Belfast, the Ulster Museum (Belfast), the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (Washington DC) and the National Portrait Gallery, (London).
  5. The total cost of the project is estimated to be in the region of £1.287m, of which DfC will contribute £1.05m with the remainder of the funding met by ANDBC.
  6. For media queries contact the Department for Communities press office via email at:
  7. Follow us on Twitter @CommunitiesNI
  8. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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