23 Nov 2023
Luke Jerram’s amazing Gaia installation is on display in Trinity College Dublin’s famous Long Room, part of The Old Library which is undergoing a significant redevelopment.
Gaia is an illuminated sculpture featuring detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface, showcasing the planet floating in three dimensions as viewed from space.
Measuring six metres in diameter, it is currently on display in Trinity College’s iconic and much-photographed Long Room forming a new part of the experience of visiting Ireland’s famous Book of Kells which is housed in the university.
In Greek mythology, Gaia is the personification of the Earth. The artist’s intention is to draw attention to planetary health, inspiring visitors to question their individual and collective role in caring for the Earth.
Jerram’s purpose for Gaia to highlight the beauty and fragility of the Earth chimes with that of The Old Library Redevelopment Project which is currently underway to safeguard the eighteenth-century building and conserve its precious collections for future generations.
The collections, spanning millennia, have been in its care for over 400 years but the library now faces conservation challenges with pollution and dust accumulation taking their toll, and an urgent need to improve fire protection and environmental controls.
Gaia exhibit, cred: Barry McCall.
The Old Library Redevelopment Project will draw on the best twenty-first-century design and technology to preserve the library for the world.
Artist Luke Jerram creates artworks that deliver messages and inspire communities to recognise often challenging concepts. He said: ‘I designed Gaia to prompt the difficult discussions we all need to have about the environment and what we, as individuals and wider society, can do to make our lifestyles more sustainable. And so, it is very fitting that Gaia will be displayed in Trinity College Dublin while the Old Library undergoes this landmark conservation project.’
One of the first people to view Gaia in The Old Library was six-time Emmy nominated American actor Christina Hendricks who visited during what she referred to as ‘a delightful and much needed staycation in Dublin’.
Trinity College, founded in 1592, is Ireland’s oldest university and one of Dublin’s top visitor attractions. As well as visiting the Book of Kells and Gaia at The Old Library, visitors can take a guided walk through history on Trinity Trails which reveals the college’s impressive architectural and historical gems.
The Long Room, Trinity College Dublin.
Trinity College Dublin.
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