The Walker Plinth, side angle, on the Derry Walls

The Plinth Commissions


Void Gallery is delighted to announce artists Alan Phelan and David Beattie as the recipients of the Plinth Commissions for 2020 and 2021. 


Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Plinth Commissions is a collaboration between Void Gallery, The Siege Museum and Friends of the Derry Walls. The Walker Memorial Plinth was built in 1826 – a 25 metre high column topped by a 5 metre high statue of the Reverend George Walker who was Governor of the city during the siege of Derry in 1688; the column and statue were blown up by the IRA in 1973.   


Through an open call, artists both North and South of the border were invited to propose a project involving the community that surrounds the Plinth, creating sculptural interventions as part of the collaboration. 


The first commission by Alan Phelan will launch in September 2020. Phelan’s project is a crowd-sourced sculpture made by individual participants in isolation, then assembled together to create the final artwork. This collective making process acknowledges and commemorates the COVID-19 crisis. The sculpture will be of a hyacinth flower; using the red, green and blue colours with petals made in papier-mâché, based around a small similar work due to be exhibited at Void Gallery as part of Phelan’s exhibition ‘echoes are always more muted’ which launches at the same time.


Launching in 2021, David Beattie proposes a project that will unfold as an invitation to the community to collectively examine the River Foyle as an interconnecting body of water, a richness of biodiversity, and a measure of perpetual time. Participants will be invited to engage with the river through a series of engagements that record their experiences and allow them to rethink their relationship with the river and their natural environments. The project will culminate in a sound recording that will be played from the Plinth and will mark the high and low tide of the river, bringing awareness of the rhythm of the river, and movement of time to people within the city. 


Void Director Mary Cremin: “We are very excited about this public art programme that we have been developing in partnership with The Siege Museum and the Friends of the Derry Walls. We are looking forward to realising Alan Phelan’s and David Beattie’s  new commissions that will resonate across the communities in Derry.”


Alan Phelan: “I am delighted to be part of the Plinth Commissions for 2020. My idea is to work with the community to mark this strange time we have all experienced and harness the people power of socially distanced activity to make this public sculpture. I look forward to working with Void Engage and bringing people together by staying apart, as they say, for this project.”


David Beattie: “I am delighted to be selected for this unique commission. It feels extra special to be supported to produce new artwork during a precarious time for artists and art workers. I look forward to working alongside the team at Void and the communities on both sides of the River Foyle to realise the project for the Walker Plinth.”



Alan Phelan

Alan Phelan (b.1968) is an artist based in Dublin whose practice began in photography and has extended into many different media and mediums with a focus on interpretation, language and collaboration. He studied at Dublin City University and Rochester Institute of Technology, New York. Recent exhibitions and projects include RHA, Dublin; The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon (2020); Company of Others, CCA, Derry (2020); TBG+S Atrium (2019); The LAB, Dublin (2019); and Glucksman Gallery, Cork (2019). Our Kind, commissioned by Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane for 2016/1916 was also screened in Oslo, Bergen, Derry, Belfast and Carlow where it won the Hotron Éigse Art Prize. Internationally he has shown at Dada Post, Berlin; Loop, Barcelona; Videonale.15 Bonn Kunstmuseum; Detroit, Stockholm; Bozar, Brussels; Treignac Projet, France; Eastlink Gallery, Shanghai; Oksasenkatu 11, Helsinki; Mina Dresden Gallery, San Francisco; Galería Del Infinito Arte, Buenos Aires; ŠKUC, Ljubljana; SKC Gallery, Belgrade; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Public art commissions include works for Dublin City Council, Dublin South County Council, St Michael’s House Special National School Raheny and the Dept of Communications. He is currently the NCAD School of Fine Art Artist in Residence for 2019-20.


David Beattie

David Beattie is a visual artist and lecturer based in Dublin, Ireland. Often assembled from a variety of everyday materials, his work attempts to provide a framework for assessing our daily surroundings and is manifested through sculpture, installation, sound and photography. Recent projects have focused on the social and environmental impact of digital technologies and machine learning.

He was awarded the Harpo Foundation Award in 2010 and was a recipient of the Hennessy Art Fund for IMMA Collection in 2016. Recent exhibitions include The Glucksman (2019); Berlin Opticians (2018+19); CCA Derry-Londonderry (2017); and Irish Museum of Modern Art (2017).


About the Plinth Commission

The Plinth Commission is part of Void Offsites, a key element of our programme. In 2018, we produced the UK premier of Douglas Gordon’s film, Portrait of Janus (divided states) in collaboration with Locus+ at St. Columb’s Hall and the first intervention on the Plinth took place with Italian artist Alex Cecchetti’s The Astronomic Weather Choir. In 2019, London artist Candida Powell-Williams sonic arrangements in the infinite fill took place on the Plinth. You can view images of both projects at


Please see this link for how you can take part in the commission for 2020 by artist Alan Phelan.