Drogheda Port Company’s 2021 Art Commission Unveils ‘The Docker’

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Local figurative artist Sallyanne Morgan, winner of the Drogheda Port Company Art Commission for 2021, unveiled her unique winning piece titled “The Docker” at the port this week.

The Drogheda Port Company has been delighted to announce the return of its annual Art Commission in July 2021 after a short absence. Submissions were invited from local artists, and he was open to any art form or medium for the creation of an interior sculpture or artwork or painting with a maritime or port theme. There was a great response with a wide range of excellent submissions and Sallyanne’s sculpture proposal was selected as the winner in September.

His inspiration for the sculpture came from the times spent in the port of hardened workers on the docks physically handling sacks of coal and grain from ships to stores. Sallyanne commented: “I was struck by the number of men who had to cross over the years, the loads they carried and how laborious it must have been. And so, the sculpture is a little tribute to them; all the strangers who have spent their working lives lifting, carrying and operating the Port.

“The Docker” was made using ferro-cement, a fiber-reinforced cement that Sallyanne applied directly to a clay model. She spent six weeks perfecting this piece, getting every edge, every detail just right to encapsulate the remarkable human element. Sallyanne focuses heavily on the female form in her work and enjoyed the challenge of working on the male figure for this commission.

The sculpture sits atop a piece of greenheart timber that was on the quay front on the city’s docks for many decades, over which many cargoes were imported and exported and many dockworkers passed through daily.

It should also be noted that cement continues to be one of the main cargoes exported from the port.

The photo taken at the unveiling shows the stark contrast between how working ports and the shipping industry have evolved over time, with technology and machinery now replacing the human hands of ‘The Docker’.

Nessa Lally, on behalf of the Port Society, thanked Sallyanne for a fantastic job which will now add to the port’s growing maritime collection which began over 20 years ago. The piece really exudes the physicality of artwork and men from a bygone era. We are also looking forward to the 2022 commission which will be launched later this year.

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