Amongst the Titanic memorials in her birthplace, the city of Belfast, are a growing number of recent public sculptures. Through the imagination and creativity of the sculptors the story of the Titanic, and her memory, is captured in unique public art installations. One of the largest in Belfast is the 'Kit', located on the quayside of Abercorn Basin, now known as Belfast Harbour Marina since 2009. The 'Kit' cost £200,000 to produce, funded jointly by the Titanic Quarter and Arts and Business NI.
The 'Kit' takes the form of an over-sized 'Airfix' model kit. It measures nearly 14 metres in height and is approximately 4 metres wide. The 'Kit' is fabricated from steel and bronze. The design of the sculpture is instantly familiar to model-makers, and comprises the framework (or sprue) that secures the individual components of the kit. In the manufacture of injection moulded plastic model kits the sprue is formed when molten plastic is injected into a mould. When the mould is broken open the sprue is left in place securing the individual numbered components of the model kit.
The 'Kit' has a number of large components, which are recognisably parts of the Titanic. These include her hull split down the middle, forming two sections, three of her four funnels and two of her three propellers. The 'Kit' is designed to give the impression that a number of components have already been 'snapped off' the sprue framework, such as the missing funnel and propeller.
The uppermost funnel is painted in the White Star Line's buff (yellow) and black band colour scheme and the bow is painted black, with red anti-fouling paint below the waterline. The rest of the hull sections and other components are left unpainted, distinguished by their bronze patina. At night the 'Kit', which stands on the quayside in front of The Arc Apartments, is illuminated by purple LED lighting.
Designed by Essex-based sculptor Tony Stallard, the sculpture is described by him as "a playful reference to kit forms and toy structures...also an attempt to bring the spirit of the ship back to the beginning of her journey". Unlike many memorials in Belfast that commemorate the victims of the Titanic, Tony Stallard described the 'Kit' as a "dramatic work which commemorates the great achievement that was the construction of the ship."
With a nod to history, the Titanic's original builders, Harland and Wolff, were commissioned to build the sculpture, not far from their existing base in the city.
- Belfast Harbour Commissioners (2016) Belfast Harbour Marina Belfast: Belfast Harbour Commissioners, https://www.belfast-harbour.co.uk/port/marina
- Lovett, Brian; Schreiber, Leona (2009) Public sculpture unveiled at the Titanic Quarter Belfast: Belfast Telegraph http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/public-sculpture-unveiled-at-the-titanic-quarter-28501726.html
- Stallard, Tony (2009) Titanic Kit Brentwood: Tony Stallard, http://www.tonystallard.co.uk/titanic-kit