"Nags" the Finglas pony kids in the Botanic Gardens

As long as I have been in Ireland I have been observing the “Pony kids issue”

12 years ago, when I arrived to work as an artist and landscape architect, I was amazed to see the amount of ponies living in back gardens and grazing on land around housing estates in poorer suburbs. Infact the grazing ponies could almonst be used as an indicator of the affluence of an area. Finglas, only a stone’s throw- over the Glasnevin cemetry wall- away from the Botanic Gardens, was and still is an area in which you can see a lot of ponies.

On the 2nd of October 2014, two very small ponies were seized by the Garda in Finglas. Videos and photos of this were published on You Tube and several other websites. The video was commented on a lot by the public. The comments varied from total dissapproval to full approval of the keeping of ponies. But all posts showed that the issue was far more comlex and the emotions demonstrated by the posts reached far beyond an opinion on pony- keeping standards. People against it often expressed a very unsophisticated and discriminating hate towards the owners of the ponies.

The pony keeping in the city has become a stigma for the non- affluent class living in areas that are not often visited by middle- class citizens.

The Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin are of the very opposite character to the adjacent Finglas- “Pony keeping area”. Glasnevin is an affluent middle class area, the Botanic Gardens are beautifully kept- with an array of diverse trees and shrubs. The council owned Greens in Finglas, where ponies graze are not planted with many beautiful trees and shrubs and do not seem to have any aeathetic purpose.

There can be no bigger contrast of spatial character than the botanic Gardens and a Finglas Council Green.

For that reason I would like to introduce 3 Finglas ponies and their handlers to the Botanic Gardens. I hope it will induce reflection about the “Pony kids” subject within the visitors to the Botanic Gardens.

The sculpture consists of 3 free- standing life size cut outs, painted in high- glow Health & Safety colours.

The colouring makes them stand out visually, highlighting the fact that they are aliens in this environment and also refering to the reason why the ponies are being seized from Council Estates. They are usually deemend a Heath & Safety risk and in breech of the social housing leases.