Imagine not only alludes to the John Lennon peace anthem but also to the dreams for a utopian society in Ireland espoused by many members of the Irish Volunteer movement during the Irish struggle for independence, including Rowan Gillespie's grandfather, James Creed Meredith.
This theme had fascinated Rowan for many years with Imagine evolving into Proclamation, a major public sculpture which has, as its backdrop, Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. Fourteen swaying figures form a 3 metre high circle (4 metres in diameter) with the engraved 'Proclamation of Independence' at its centre. The viewer is forced to enter the highly-charged space created by these limbless, lifeless, yet spiritually potent figures who represent the leaders of the rising executed at Kilmainham in 1916. They are blindfolded and bullet holes perforate their upper chests. The effect is quite disturbing and extremely powerful.
Roger Kohn, author of Looking for Orion, the biography of Rowan Gillespie (O'Brien Press, 2007).