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Maser mural appears on Ballina smokery


STRIKING A drone view of Maser’s work on Hill Street in Ballina. Pic: Noel Thornton/Suas Drones

Ballina has a brand-new piece of bold street art in the heart of the town. Renowned street artist Maser has created a vibrant abstract installation with a botanical theme on a large site on Hill St, to the rear of Clarke’s Salmon Smokery.   
The artwork is the fourth piece created for Ballina Fringe Festival’s #PureBallina community street art project, which aims to give community groups the opportunity to engage with and participate in the development of high-quality artworks.
Dublin-based Maser (otherwise known as Al Heston) plans to return to Ballina in November should restrictions allow, to complete a second piece in collaboration with the young people of Ballina’s Foróige Neighbourhood Youth Project, originally planned for this week to coincide with the festival itself.
Anne-Marie Flynn, secretary of Ballina Fringe Festival, said: “During an otherwise grey and discouraging week for Ballina, it was great to see this project coming to fruition despite the recent restrictions.
“We’re proud to see another outstanding artwork by such a highly regarded artist created in our town and are looking forward to welcoming Maser back to Ballina to work with the young people in Foroige NYP, who we know will bring lots of energy to the project.”
#PureBallina is supported by funding from Creative Ireland, via Mayo County Council. This year, 2020, marks year two of a five-year project. Maser, who boasts an impressive portfolio of street art and has worked all over the world, was selected this year from a strong field of submissions by interested artists from Ireland and overseas. It is expected that a call for submissions for year three will go out early in 2021.
The work on site this week again captured the imagination of the public and indeed, aroused plenty of curiosity, with onlookers stopping to snap photos of the artists atop their large lift, and greet them throughout the week. Maser was assisted by his partner, Dee, and both remarked on the warm welcome and kindness shown to them by the Ballina community throughout their stay.
#PureBallina is also supported by Dulux Ireland and Archers. Garret Michael, manager of Archers Ballina commented: “We at Archers are proud to be involved in bringing extra colour to the streets of Ballina and it’s great to see Dulux’ support of this exciting community project for the second year running. We’re especially delighted to see an artist like Maser visiting Ballina to create work here.”
The new works will be formally launched at a later date. The Ballina Fringe Festival team also plans to create an interactive walking tour incorporating the new artworks which will offer tourists a new cultural activity and create additional footfall. Last year, Sligo-born artist Friz worked with Ballina Men’s Shed, Involve Ballina Youth Project and the North Mayo Youth Project to create three pieces on Pawn Office Lane, Diamond’s Car Park and Teeling Street.  
Maser also completed at a major outdoor mural in Westport in October 2017, as part of the town’s long-running arts festival, when he painted the old three-storey schoolhouse building at the Convent of Mercy site on Altamont Street. Other examples of his colourful work can be seen all over the globe, in places like his native Dublin, as well as Israel and Las Vegas. Ballina Fringe Festival runs until Sunday, October 18.