Breaking Emmet’s Block, Dublin


Alice Rekab



Dublin Sculpture in the Public Realm

Cassidy Bros has polished off the flagship art project for South Dublin’s centenary commemoration of the 1916 Rising.

Breaking Emmets Block, a sculpture forged from polished concrete and steel was recently unveiled outside The Pearse Museum at Grange Road, Rathfarnham.

The public artwork, which was designed by artist Alice Rekab and commissioned by South Dublin County Council, is a new focal point at the historic home and Irish language school of Patrick Pearse, the leader of 1916 Rising.

David Cassidy, said: “We were delighted to work closely with Dublin sculptor Alice Rekab on this impressive project to mark the commemoration of the 1916 Rising. The creation of bespoke concrete products has become a significant arm of our business at Cassidy Bros.

“Our vast experiences in delivering pre-cast concrete products to exact specifications has allowed us to develop a strong interest in delivering artworks and installations of unrivalled quality all over Ireland, the UK and further afield.

Breaking Emmet’s Block is approximately 2m high and 1m x 1.5m metres wide at the base. It is cast from coloured concrete around a steel armature.

Mr Cassidy explains: “The sculpture is forged from bespoke, reinforced, exposed and polished concrete with black and cobalt blue dyes to allow for contrast of the different elements or the artwork. All sections were cut to shape using large saws which exposed the aggregates – the concrete was then polished and sealed to bring out the true colour.”

Inspired by the artefact of Robert Emmets Block – which is housed in the Pearse Museum –the sculpture is designed “to reflect the impact of change and the emergence of a new world from the old”, says artist Alice Rekab.

The sculpture “speaks to the heroism, brilliance and imagination that underpin the history of St. Enda’s park”, she adds.

Ms Rekab explains: “Robert Emmets Block is of interest to me as it forms a joint site of both Emmets untimely execution and the historic signature table for the first Irish government bonds – symbolizing how we built upon revolutionary sacrifice to construct a new state for the Irish people. The Breaking Emmet’s Block sculpture acts as a contemporary continuation of both Pearse’s commemoration of heroes and the playful twist his pageantry brought to the romantic idealism that was so central to the culture of St. Enda’s.”

Ms Rekab says the materials bring “a futuristic twist to a brutalist aesthetic inspired by the monuments or Spomenik structures found across multiple commemorative sites in the former Yugoslavia.”

She explains that Robert Emmet’s Block “draws through lines between the socialist ideals of the Irish free state and their remnants in the contemporary Irish psyche”.

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