To conclude our tribute to James Joyce we bring you this wonderful short film where Ireland’s most renowned sculptor John Behan puts forward the idea for erecting a statue of Leopold Bloom on Duke Street Dublin. Leopold Bloom is one of the most internationally recognised and beloved characters in 20C literature. In Chapter 8 of Ulysses, Bloom visits Davey Byrnes pub, for a Gorgonzola and Burgundy lunch. As a one-man incarnation of Dublin itself, Leopold Bloom views the world – and we with him – through a humane, tolerant and non-violent lens. In this cultural moment of heated debate about racist statues, he would be an antidote to such division and a perfect figure for the world to admire.
JOHN BEHAN: Born in Dublin in 1938. After an apprenticeship in metal work and welding, the foundations for Behan’s success were laid in the sixties, when he trained in London and Oslo and began to exhibit extensively. Behan has been awarded many honours during his career. Celebrated for his early bull sculptures – described by the late Playwright Brian Friel as ‘enormously solid artefacts, 4-square on the earth, confident, assured, executed to a point of absolute completion’ – His major public commissions include Flight of Birds, Famine Ship, Tree of Liberty, Daedalus, Millennium Child, Arrival and Equality Emerging, unveiled in Galway city in November 2001. The late Poet and Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney said of the artist, “There is something psychologically salubrious about John Behan. It is as if you are encountering what the Upanishads call the ancient self, something previous to an underlying individual character, some kind of psychic bedrock.”