Holland pays tribute to inventor namesake with marine-themed sculpture

Exhibition in Palm House at Botanic Gardens

A work by Duleek-based sculptor Shane Holland, paying homage to his namesake, JP Holland, the inventor of the submarine, is to be on exhibition at the National Botanic Gardens' ‘Sculpture in Context’ show, opening this week.

'Submarinocurraplane' is a nod to Holland's links with the sea and his working with unconventional materials.

In his Duleek workshop, he uses recovered or recycled items where possible in his work.

The Dunshaughlin native is a keen environmentalist in his adopted coastal community of North Dublin.

"I advocate for trees and ocean clean ups on the islands near Skerries. I also build traditional Irish currachs, row them and am captain of Currachaí na Sceirí," he sauys. "My links with the sea result in the use of some found objects in my work. My expertise is in the forming and assembly of metals, working with unconventional materials, creating contrast and balance through mixed media. My sculptures incorporate metals, copper, bronze, steel, and composite aluminium. I have made several public sculptures which can be seen in Skerries, Westport and Ballymun. My work is abstract in nature."

Shane Holland. Photo by Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke

After acquiring three pieces of Boeing 707 fuselage through recycling contacts in Duleek a few years ago, he was questioning what to do with them.

"The Boeing 707 parts were air intake vents which used to reside on the top of the engines, under the wing of these iconic classic jets that flew the air from 1950s to the 1980s. In true inventor mode I began by trying different configurations of the three parts in making a half shape, hanging 3.5m long in aluminium and titanium. The new grid structure that completes the shape takes inspiration from Currach building, which allows visibility to the inside and carries the form through in aluminium."

The overall impression of a submarine is not a mistake, and the inspiration is something of an ancestral family affair, with the inventor John P Holland being the inventor of the first submarine. I added blue windows going along the more fantasy, passenger look of planes or even a Jules Verne porthole from '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea'."

‘Submarinocurraplane’ is not just a celebration of recycling and remaking, it is also a celebration of innovation and Irish technical know-how, he adds.

"In showcasing the engineering talents of John Philip Holland, and the traditional boatbuilders of currachs, I have married recycling, innovation, aviation, and traditional boat building into one sculptural piece."

This piece measures in cm, 350 high x 37 wide x 85 deep. The materials used are aluminium, composite aluminium, and titanium, weighing about 95kg.

After graduating from NCAD/UL in 1989 as an industrial designer I was hired as a part time technician in NCAD in the wood, metal, and plastics workshops of the industrial design department (1989-1996). In 1991, he initially established my studio in Dublin city centre, working on models, prototypes for film, industry awards, lighting, and furniture projects. In the last few years, his direction has shifted to sculptural and artistic works.

'Submarinocurraplane' will be on exhibition in the Palm House at the National Botanic Gardens for ‘Sculpture in Context’, until 13th October next.