CORK Pride organisers are desperately appealing for the safe return of artworks created by their artist-in-residence as the festival approaches.
The artworks had been proudly displayed on Sullivan's Quay before being snatched last Friday. They were created by award-winning artist and Cork Pride's Artist-in-residence Stephen Doyle.
Mr Doyle said the incident reiterated the vulnerability experienced by many in the LGBTQ+ community.
"To say I’m upset is an understatement yet I’m not shocked," he said in a statement published on social media. "I’ve spent countless hours in tandem with Cork Pride in getting this project off the ground and getting it to that point. This body of work was inspired by the LGBTQ+ community in Cork, specifically members of the Gay Project and LINC."
He spoke about the inspiration behind his pieces.
"The paintings feature individuals from both groups engaging with one another in built safe spaces," he added. "Recent events in Ireland have reminded us how far we still have to go as a society and how important these spaces are to the queer community. We require these spaces to share our experiences, bond, heal and find our families."
He described what the work meant to those in the LGBTQ+ community.
"By developing this body of work in a public space such as this, it mirrors the level of vulnerability we feel existing as ourselves walking the streets. Over the last number of months, I’ve been on-site painting them. While most people who spoke to me were inquisitive and kind about the artwork, it has to be noted that a number of people spat homophobic and anti-lgbtq+ rhetoric towards me as I worked. I’d rather not speculate at this time as to why someone would take the work but given the amount of effort it would take to remove them, it meant someone really wanted them far from the public realm. I’ve been in contact with the Gardai and they will be looking into the matter. I’m looking for any information, even If you could tell me when you last saw it on-site would be greatly appreciated. All I’m looking for is the return of the work, I hold no malice toward whoever has taken them."
The crime was reported to Gardaí who are investigating the incident.
Gardaí released a brief statement in relation to the matter.
"Gardaí are investigating an incident of theft that occurred at a junction on Meade Street in Cork City," a Garda spokesperson said. The incident was reported to Gardaí on 24th June 2022. Investigations are ongoing at this time."
Anyone with any information on the stolen paintings is asked to contact Gardaí Cork’s Pride celebrations will take place from Saturday July 23 to Sunday, July 31. The theme of the 2022 Cork LGBT+ Pride Festival is “PROUD TO BE...”.
For events happening throughout the city visit See https://corkpride.com/