Rhoda's not the average Derry lady you would meet on a dander across the peace bridge. Weighing in a 118 stone, the Coolermoney cow was guest of honour at today's launch of CowParade at Ebrington parade grounds. Towering over her fibreglass bovine friends, Rhoda kept Mayor Maurice Devenney on his toes, almost toppling the gathered dignatories in a bid for either freedom or to steal the limelight from her static white cow friends who were dotted across the newly laid lawns of Ebrington.
2012 will be the year of the cow in Northern Ireland. The world’s largest public art exhibition CowParade arrives in May and will feature up to 200 life sized fibre glass cows transformed into magnificent sculptures by local artists.
The cows will be on display throughout Northern Ireland over the summer, and will form a spectacular attraction for residents and visitors alike.
CowParade has taken place in more than 70 cities across the globe since it started in 1999. It is estimated that more than 100 million people around the world have seen the cows and more than 5,000 artists have participated in CowParade - professional and amateur, famous and emerging, young and old. In addition, charity partners have received in excess of £20 million from the auction of cows at the end of the event.
The Mayor of Derry, Alderman Maurice Devenney said “Cow Parade presents our city with an excellent opportunity to boost visitor numbers and involve local people in 2012, when we will host the Peace One Day Concert and Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in the lead up to 2013 when the City will host the first ever UK City of Culture City. Derry~Londonderry is fast becoming a must see European destination and we are delighted that this collaboration with Belfast will encourage increased visitors and spend to the city”.
The event will formally open at the Balmoral Show in May and will take place all summer, culminating in a charity auction of the cows in October.
Presenting partners are Derry City Council and ILEX who today invited community groups in both cities to come forward with their designs for decorating their cows. Community groups from Derry are being invited to submit design concepts for the decoration of a cow, and the winning 10 from each city will then be painted by an artist. Community Groups, artists and sponsors interested in participating can find full details and entrance guidelines on the official event website at http://www.cowparadeni.com.