ATHY boxer Eric Donovan has been immortalised in a giant mural on the wall of his local boxing club.The painting, by renowned Dublin based graffiti artist Solus, was unveiled on Culture Night last Friday evening.
While initially shocked and even embarrassed by the idea of the mural Eric Donovan,wnho is Co Kildare’s Ambassador for Culture Night, says he is delighted and humbled by it and hopes it will serve to inspire the young people in Athy and beyond.
“When I was asked I was initially shocked and embarrassed. But in reality the mural could have been on any wall of any club and it could have been any one of several boxers from the club. The way Solus works is that he likes to work on an individual and I was chosen. I am absolutely chuffed with his work, it is a great honour and I now have to take ownership of it, be proud of it and hopefully it will inspire kids to be the best they can be, whether that is at boxing, another sport or doing something which isn’t related to sport.
“For me it was boxing that gave me so many opportunities and gave me the chance to go places and do things that I could never have dreamt of. So I hope this mural will be a beacon of hope and support to others.
“I met with Solus two weeks before the work was unveiled and he took a couple of snaps of me. He told me to get my game face on and get into character as I would before entering the ring. He was trying to capture strength and confidence and I think he succeeded. From talking to Solus I learned that he had boxed himself when he was younger and he found art as a way of giving direction to his life. For me boxing was the same, it saved my life and helped me overcome my demons. I had great support from coaches and volunteers from within the club (St Michael’s Boxing Club) on that journey and this is about them and not me.”
Kildare County Council Arts Officer Lucina Russell explained how the mural came into being.
“The national Culture Night Office offered a mural to county councils around the country and I was familiar with the work of Solus who has done a lot of murals of boxers so we jumped in and said we would love to accept the offer. By coincidence Eric was our cultural ambassador and Athy Boxing Club seemed like a natural fit for the mural. Work began on the mural last Sunday and it was finished by Friday in time for the unveiling. The mural looks fantastic and we are delighted by how it all came together.”