Local figurative artist Sallyanne Morgan, winner of the Drogheda Port Company Art Commission for 2021 unveiled her unique winning piece titled ‘The Docker’ at the port this week.
Drogheda Port Company were thrilled to announce the return of their annual arts commission back in July 2021 after a short absence. Submissions were invited from local artists, and it was open to any art form or medium for the creation of an internal sculpture or art piece or painting on a maritime or port-based theme. There was a great response with a wide range of excellent submissions and Sallyanne’s sculpture proposal was selected as the winner in September.
Her inspiration for the sculpture came from bygone times in the port of the hardened workmen on the quays physically handling sacks of coal and grains from the ships into the stores.
«I was struck by the number of men that must have passed through over the years, by the loads they carried and how labour intensive it must have been. And so, the sculpture is a small homage to them; all the unknown men who spent their working lives lifting and carrying and making the Port function».
‘The Docker’ was crafted using ferro-cement, a fibre reinforced cement which Sallyanne directly applied to a clay model. She spent six weeks perfecting this piece, getting every contour, every detail just right to encapsulate the remarkable human element. Sallyanne focuses very much on the female form in her work and enjoyed the challenge of working on the male figure for this commission.
The sculpture sits atop a piece of greenheart timber which was on the quay front on the town quays for many decades, over which many cargoes were imported and exported and many dockers traversed on a daily basis.
It is also very fitting to note that that cement continues to be one of the main cargoes exported from the port.
The picture taken at the unveiling depicts the stark contrast of how working ports and the shipping industry has advanced over time, with technology and machinery now replacing human hands of ‘The Docker’.
Nessa Lally on behalf of the port company thanked Sallyanne for a fantastic piece of work which will now add to the growing maritime collection in the port which began over 20 years ago. The piece really exudes the physicality of the work and the men of a bygone era. We also look forward to the 2022 commission which will launch later this year.