Hey, is that field staring at me?
Travel bulletin to air travelers over Ireland: Should you feel a sharp lurch from your aircraft, it could be turbulence, engine trouble, or your captain spewing hot coffee all over the cockpit as he spots this girl giant's face peering up from the land.
The monumental mug spans 11 acres in a field in Belfast's Titanic Quarter, a recently redeveloped waterfront sector in the northern part of the city. The girl's difficult-to-read expression, only a tiny bit reminiscent of Damien Thorn, looks like it might be masking dark thoughts inside her mind, although what's really in there are 4,000 metric tons of soil and sand and 30,000 wooden stakes giving the glebe its weirdly anthropomorphized appearance.
"Wish," as the piece is titled, is the creation of Cuban-American visionary Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, who spent 18 months planning and four weeks executing it with the help of volunteers and GPS for an Irish cultural festival. It's best appreciated from the windows of planes taking off from the George Best Belfast City Airport, although there are platforms scattered around the field that provide slanty views. Said to be the largest work of land art in the United Kingdom, the face will gaze into the ether until December 2013 or it's plowed over by a careless farmer, whichever comes first.
Rodriguez-Gerada is something of a specialist in making heads you could conduct a rugby match on. For his "Terrestrial Series" of landworks, he's transformed vast amounts of earth into the likenesses of President Barack Obama and Spanish architect Enric Miralles. The lass represented in "Wish" was based on an anonymous 6-year-old Belfast resident, and is supposed to represent either "wishful thinking" or a "genuine hope for a brighter future for all of us who share this land," according to the festival's organizers.
Here are a few more views of the scheming field from before and after its completion: