Phoenix Park, People's Flower Garden HIV/AIDS Monument of Ireland since 1 December 2024
without names
Design revealed for Ireland’s first national HIV/AIDS monument
The piece is due to be installed in Phoenix Park in 2023.

Two artists have been awarded the commission for Ireland’s national HIV/AIDS monument, due to be installed in Dublin in 2023. Anaisa Franco and Michael R DiCarlo were announced as the successful applicants on Thursday, December 15 after a rigorous two-stage open competition that was spearheaded by the Department of the Taoiseach. Their proposal, Embraced Loop, is a concept that uses an abstraction form of the infamous red ribbon to create a parametric shape, with the rope loop closing to create a sense of embrace and solidarity. The national HIV/AIDS monument is set to be housed in the People’s Park in Phoenix Park, and aims to both remember and pay tribute to the lives lost, while also showing solidarity to those living with the virus today. Caregivers, medical professionals, and support systems are also to be honoured through the piece.

Commenting on the news, former Taoiseach Micheál Martin stated: “It has been forty years since the first reports of HIV and AIDS in Ireland and this dedicated National Monument will raise collective awareness, while also creating a fitting and inclusive space for people to gather to remember and reflect.” Adding to this, Leo Varadkar noted how HIV “continues to be one of the most stigmatised medical conditions, placing a burden on families and communities.” He continued that the monument will be a place of remembrance and honour, as well as providing an opportunity to raise awareness and “take on those stigmas”. “I am grateful to the HIV and AIDS Monument Oversight Committee for their dedicated work in selecting the excellent competition winner,” he concluded.

The aforementioned committee was established in 2021 and chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach. The competition to win the commission of the HIV/AIDS monument was developed and carried out in partnership with the Office of Public Works (OPW), who in June of this year, invited Expressions of Interest from individual artists and project teams. 26 eligible submissions were received, eight of which made it through to Stage 2 of the competition. A Jury of 11 members, including representatives from HIV Ireland, Fast Track Cities Steering Group, Irish Haemophilia Society, Ana Liffey Drugs Projects, GOSHH, the Arts Council and an OPW Principal Architect and an arts nominee, made the final selection and were reportedly very impressed with the high standard of submissions. The Oversight Committee agreed with their chosen winner, and noted that “the sculpture has universal appeal, is ambitious and aesthetically strong, and that the artists displayed a thorough understanding of the brief”.

Alice Linehan. Image © Office of Public Works Gay Community News

19 December 2022
Alice Linehan, Dublin