Artist creates 11-acre portrait in Belfast field

A 6-year-old girl is the subject of one of the largest portraits ever, created with soil, sand, and GPS.

Wish
The portrait, which measures the size of 44 Olympic pools, was made with natural materials. (Click to enlarge.) Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada

Belfast's reputation for producing stuff that's larger than life continues with a monumental artwork that comes a century after the sinking of the Titanic.

"Wish" is a portrait of a local 6-year-old girl that has been carved into an 11-acre field close to where the Harland and Wolff shipyard, birthplace of the massive doomed ship, once stood.

It's the work of Cuban-American artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, who has been known for creating enormous portraits such as one of Barack Obama on a Barcelona beachfront.

Part of the ongoing Belfast Festival, "Wish" was inspired by a local girl whom the artist met and photographed.

The size of 44 Olympic swimming pools, the image was made with topsoil, sand, grass, and limestone. It's so large that it has to be viewed from the highest points in the city, or from a plane.

Lines for the image were plotted with the stakes based on GPS reference points. It then took 2,000 tons of soil, 2,000 tons of sand, some 30,000 wooden stakes, and an army of volunteers to execute the portrait over a four-week period.

"Working at very large scales becomes a personal challenge but it also allows me to bring attention to important social issues, the size of the piece is intrinsic to the value of its message," Rodríguez-Gerada says on his YouTube channel.

"Creativity is always applied in order to define an intervention made only with local materials, with no environmental impact, that work in harmony with the location."

The rains may soon wash away the girl's smiling face, but check out the CBS report on "Wish" below and see other examples from the artist's Terrestrial Series here.

 

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