The ‘Traveller signs’, across from Maureen’s shop in Stoneybatter, Dublin 7, explained.
They were created by Japanese artist Shota Kotake, who moved to Dublin in 2004.
Writing for the On The Batter blog, Shota explains:
“A few months ago, my bike was stolen from our back yard and, a few weeks later, my good sports jacket. It was all caused by having no proper prevention on our wall facing Manor Place.
“As Maureen sometimes told us, some people climb up and look inside to see if there are any valuables to steal. We discussed about having broken glass, but that’s illegal to do. We also thought about spreading grease, but then stray cats can’t come into our back yard anymore, so we had no good idea about it. Then I suddenly came up with this idea of having some sort of art work. It could be replicating a Super Mario stage or something like that, but I came up with having Travellers on it and making them say something.”
“It was a huge sensation when the video of Davy Joyce replying to Simon O’Donnell came out on YouTube. All the lads in college were talking about it and that was the first time I discovered these Travellers and bareknuckle boxing culture. Everyone thought it funny that these big muscly lads were ranting on each other through the video and they send it to each other to organise a fight. Also, the words they used in the video were funny as well. I found it funny as well, but I found it more like I found a true Irishness in them. They never accept their defeat, they use a lot of unique words to describe something which can be described in a few words like “Here, I want to fight with you on this date, this place”, rather than shouting at each other how they are shit and all. I guess such garrulity is something that only Irish people can have. Moreover, these boxers have unique characters themselves.”
“A Japanese art group from the 1950s called GUTAI is one of the only such groups that became well-known overseas. And the reason they were huge is because they do stupid and meaningless things very seriously. I find Travellers kind of the same. They are doing something that looks stupid to people outside their community and culture, but they’re doing it really seriously. That’s why I love them and respect them.”
Previously: Meanwhile, In Stoneybatter