Northern Ireland Assembly
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Speaker Marks the Arrival of the Giro d’Italia

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mr William Hay MLA, launched an exhibition in Parliament Buildings entitled "The Art of Cycling" by local artist Deepa Mann-Kler. The exhibition celebrates the industrial heritage of Belfast alongside the arrival of the Giro d'Italia and incorporates iconic Belfast landmarks which will be seen along the route of the Giro d'Italia.

The exhibition is supplemented with a penny-farthing bicycle on loan from the Ulster Museum, a state of the art racing bike loaned by Slane Cycles.

The winning entries in a children's art competition, which was delivered by Sport Northern Ireland and asked local schoolchildren to design a cycling jersey, are also on display.

Speaker William Hay MLA said: "I am delighted to host this wonderful art exhibition by Deepa Mann-Kler. This is a great way for the Assembly to celebrate the arrival of the Giro d'Italia in Northern Ireland and I am very pleased to be a part of it. I am grateful to the artist for allowing her work to be displayed here in Parliament Buildings and to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and Slane Cycles for loaning bicycles to complement the exhibition.

"Parliament Buildings hosts many art exhibitions and it is only fitting that we host this one as part of the events leading up to the Giro d'Italia. I would encourage the public to come up to the building, view all of our artwork and take one of our guided tours. I have often said that this building belongs to the people it represents and the art exhibitions are a great way to highlight that."

Sport Northern Ireland Chief Executive Antoinette McKeown also welcomed the event saying: "It is extremely positive to see another high profile sporting event coming to Northern Ireland and events such as this exhibition help to instil a sense of ownership, excitement and celebration.

"To have the winning and shortlisted entries from our schools art competition included at this event is a fantastic opportunity for the children and we hope they are very proud to be on display here. This competition was just one element of a range of activities delivered by Sport Northern Ireland through its Activ8 Giro Schools Engagement Programme which has helped to build excitement for the Giro d'Italia. In addition, the programme is encouraging our children and young people to use the Giro d'Italia as inspiration to get involved in cycling so ensuring a legacy from this prestigious event."

Notes to Editors:

The Art of Cycling exhibition will be on display in Parliament Buildings from 7 May to 23 May 2014.

Artist Deepa Mann-Kler's subjects have included Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche, Mark Cavendish, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Marco Pantani and Fausto Coppi.

Parliament Buildings is open to the public between 9.00am and 4.00pm Monday to Friday. Free guided tours are available Monday – Friday at 10.00am and 3.00pm. Please note that Parliament Buildings will not be open on Friday, 9 May.

Free tours are also available on the hour, every hour between 10.00am–3.00pm during July and August and Halloween and Easter Recess periods (please check the Northern Ireland Assembly website for further details: http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/Visit-and-Learning/

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