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“What is Home?” by Asbestos in Cork, Ireland

October 14, 2021
3 min read
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This new mural by Asbestos in Cork, Ireland is part of the Ardu Street Art festival featuring Friz, Asbestos, Conor Harrington, and Shane O’Malley.

The giant gable end mural by Asbestos challenges the passerby to think about ‘What is Home?’  Do you have one, is it safe, can you afford it? Never as a country has our sense of what home means been more at threat.

“I painted this figure wearing a cardboard box on his head to start a conversation with the public about what home means to them. As a country we are currently in an existential crisis over housing and our need to put a roof over our heads. There’s a fear and uncertainly about finding a safe space, and the system seems to be stacked in favour of the landlords” said Asbestos.

The figure wearing the box is the artist himself, but a fictional version of him who is looking at the world with a naive view point. So each of his masks, or personas is a character that’s asking a different question. In this case “What is Home?”

Home isn’t simply about where you were born, it’s where you feel you belong, where you feel safe, where you’re welcomed, where you can come back to and feel accepted, loved and part of a community. We seem to have lost sight of this recently because we’re so concerned about rent, mortgages or even having a home.

Painted over 8 days in the sunshine and rain, it was wonderful to speak to so many curious Corkonians about the mural. The support has been amazing from the public and my friends and family here, Cork definitely felt like my home for a week.

Asbestos is an Irish artist who’s been creating work on the street in a variety of media since 2003.  His portraits explore the concept of identity that are a conversation with two versions of his persona. “Each mask portrays two versions of myself, one alive and one dead. The dead version is a fictional character that represents me, if I’d been killed in a car bomb”. The bomb he refers to was a real one that went off in Dublin 46 days before he was born, 5 minutes after his mother walked past it. “I’ve always been fascinated about the fact that I may never have existed.” So each portrait is created by two versions of his persona combining photorealism and abstract naive strokes.

Scroll down below to view more photos of the mural.

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