Visitors to next week’s Celtic Media Festival will be greeted by an iconic Manx emblem – a sculpture of a giant Loaghtan sheep.
The structure is being erected on Douglas Head by internationally known artists Darren Jackson and Stephanie Quayle, who have been commissioned to create it by the Isle of Man Arts Council.
It’s a replica of the sheep the artists installed at the Bungalow on the TT course to mark Island of Culture 2014. The structure was voted ‘most popular attraction’ in a poll of the public on how successful the year had been.
Darren and Stephanie, who run The Farmyard Studio, have permission to erect the sheep in front of Douglas Head apartments from landowner Mike Whipp.
They will begin work this week to create the animal, which will have a steel frame, carved wooden legs, face and horns and a body made of greenery secured with steel cables.
Geoff Corkish MBE MLC, Chairman of the Arts Council, said: ‘The Arts Council is committed to encouraging and investing in public art.
‘The Loaghtan is recognised as Manx. It will be valuable to have such an emblematic sculpture overlooking one of our major gateways. Visitors will see it as they arrive by boat or as they use Douglas’s promenades.
‘The sculpture will provide a suitable Manx welcome for visitors to the Celtic Media Festival, which the Island is honoured to host for the first time.
‘Although the sculpture is not designed to be permanent, it’s hoped the Manx summer will be kind to it so it provides longer lasting enjoyment to the public.
‘It’s also appropriate as Douglas Town Centre Management recently adopted Loki the Loaghtan as its mascot.’
Mr Whipp said: ‘It’s appropriate that the sculpture will be viewed by so many visitors to the Island this summer and will hopefully promote Loaghtan lamb, which, together with Manx queenies, attracts the acclaimed European Protected Designation of Origin status.’
The Celtic Media Festival runs from 3rd to 5th May at the Villa Marina and other venues. See www.celticmediafestival.co.uk/