22 December 2017
By Elaine Murphy
Evening Echo is a public artwork by New Zealand artist Maddie Leach. It is sited on old gasometer land gifted by Bord Gáis to Cork City Council in the late 1980s. This site was subsequently re-dedicated as Shalom Park in 1989. The park sits in the centre of the old Cork neighbourhood known locally as ‘Jewtown’. This neighbourhood is also home to the National Sculpture Factory.
Evening Echo is an art project generated as an artist’s response to the particularities of place and locality. Now in its seventh year, the project continues to gather support from the Cork Hebrew Congregation, Cork City Council, Bord Gáis and its local community. Cork City Council was particularly pleased that the artist Maddie Leach is able to attend the event this year.
The project is manifested in a sequence of custom-built lamps, a remote timing system, a highly controlled sense of duration, a list of future dates, an annual announcement in Cork’s Evening Echo newspaper and a promissory agreement. Evening Echo is fleetingly activated on an annual cycle, maintaining a delicate but persistent visibility in the park and re-activating its connection to Cork’s Jewish history. Intended to exist in perpetuity, the project maintains a delicate position between optimism for its future existence and the possibility of its own discontinuance.
This year the last night of Hanukkah was Tuesday the 19th December
Lord Mayor, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald said: “The Evening Echo project is an important annual marker that acknowledges the significant impact that the Jewish Community had in Cork. Moreover this artwork, illustrates the precarious balance and possible disappearance of any small community existing within a changing city. Evening Echo continues as a lasting memory of the Jewish community in Cork city, and remains as a comment on the transient nature of communities and the impacts that inward and outward migration brings to the character of all cities.”