The evening of Friday 13th September saw Girdwood joining a number of international cities including New York, Tokyo, Berlin and others in hosting a permanent sculpture of The Knotted Gun - an international symbol of peace.
The bronze sculpture has been gifted to Belfast and its citizens by Stena Line owners, the Olsson Family from Sweden and will be housed in Girdwood, where it will be on permanent display.
This was a unique celebration of peace for the city in the heart of North Belfast and is sure to leave a lasting legacy for many years to come. The Knotted Gun is a globally renowned symbol of hope and peace, Created by the Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reutersward, the monument was for his friend John Lennon after he was shot and killed outside his home in New York on December 8, 1980. It is a symbol of the Non-Violence Project Foundation, whose mission is to inspire, motivate and engage young people in understanding how to solve conflict peacefully
Improving good relations is a key priority of the Belfast Agenda and the sculpture marks a milestone in our city’s journey to peace and reconciliation.
The event was hosted by, Marie-Louise Muir, presenter of BBC NI's main arts and entertainment programme ‘The Arts Show’. In attendance amongst many of the esteemed VIPs was Lord Mayor, Councillor John Finucane and Stenaline owner, Mr Dan Sten Olsson and his immediate family.
Local community group New Lodge Arts ran a project where a number of their young people designed possible designs which would be transferred onto the final monument. New lodge arts provide innovative and educational work shops and projects right across the divide of North Belfast with many of these workshops being delivered here in Girdwood.
The winning design was designed by Carla Sloan aged 15 from North Belfast. Carla went on to present Mr Olsson with a sculpture of her winning design as a symbol of thanks and the lasting legacy of tonight’s donation.
On the evening New Lodge Arts choir also gave a moving rendition of John Lennon’s 1971 best selling hit “imagine”.
It’s equally fitting that the unveiling ceremony took place Friday evening, ahead of Good Relations week, which starts runs from the 16 to 20 September.