The stainless steel ‘Freedom’ sculpture by Alexandra Wejchert has been installed on the North Campus of Maynooth University under a long-term loan agreement between AIB and the University.
Commissioned by the bank in 1985, the stainless-steel sculpture stands at 11.5 m (37 ft) high and was considered among the most ambitious large-scale exterior sculptures in Ireland. Following the relocation of the AIB headquarters from Ballsbridge, the sculpture required a new site and is now a defining feature on the landscape of Maynooth University, as a publicly accessible exterior artwork for the community and the wider region.
Today’s event marks an important milestone for Prof Philip Nolan, President of Maynooth University, who retires next month after a decade in this role.
Welcoming the installation, Professor Nolan, said: “Maynooth University is honoured to become the guardian of this exceptional artwork which serves as a metaphor for hope and freedom in what have been unprecedented times for us all. Maynooth University is committed to fostering art and culture, a commitment that is not only an ethos but also underlined in our Strategic Plan. We have a long-standing relationship with AIB and are delighted to have the opportunity to add such an important piece of sculpture to our campus. It is especially fitting that we have installed this striking sculpture as we prepare to welcome students back on campus at the start of the academic year.”
Colin Hunt, Chief Executive Officer of AIB, said: “AIB is delighted to find such a fitting home for Freedom in Maynooth University, where it will be cared for, and enjoyed by the staff, students and the public. The bank has an extensive art lending programme with galleries, public spaces, community buildings, colleges and State institutions so that the maximum numbers of the public can access some of the most important works from its collection.”
Today’s unveiling represents another landmark event for Maynooth campus development, as construction continues on a €57 million project, the Technology, Innovation & Society Building, due to be completed early next year. Also on North Campus, a planned new Student Centre will serve as a hub and workspace for students engaged in cultural events, clubs and societies, and a wider variety of activities. The University intends to further enhance the intellectual and cultural life of campus and the wider region through deeper engagement with the arts.