We now what the worst public art of 2016 was, and it was not the “fearless girl” we all love to hate. U.K. magazine the Spectator announced the answer is actually Origin, a sculpture that marks the origin of the Farset River in Belfast, which won their annual “What’s That Thing?” contest.
The piece, erected last year “with input from both unionist and nationalist community groups,” was deemed the ugliest new contribution to the longstanding tradition of reviled public art, according to a report from the BBC.
The granite and glass statue cost £100,000 to commission, which isn’t really that much in the grand scheme. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is investing £900,000 in seven large scale projects, “showcasing the city’s cultural heritage,” of which this is one.
Perhaps it was a matter of too many cooks in the kitchen? Spectator decried the piece as “cheap-looking.” Part of the problem may be that the sculpture is supposed to viewed at night from a distance. “At night time, Origin will be illuminated by a soft white glow, and the raindrop will appear to float, as if suspended in mid-air. It will be visible from a number of different points throughout the city,” the missive from the arts council reads.
On Google, the Origin has two out of five stars and only one review.