A colourful balloon sculpture at a shopfront in Omagh is catching the attention of shoppers as part of World Breastfeeding Week.
The display in the Showgrounds in the Co Tyrone town came about after a collaboration between the Northern Ireland-based Breastival organisation and balloon artist Ryan Tracey.
Tracey, who has broken several world records for some of his creations as well as appearances on Britain’s Got Talent, said it was a unique sculpture to make and one which highlights an important issue.
Ryan told MyTyrone: “Because of the nature of what they do and raise awareness for, by making breastfeeding more inclusive in society and given the fact Northern Ireland has one of the lowest rates in Western Europe, it was a good opportunity for both of us.
“We wanted to do something which sensitively and carefully represents the message we wanted to convey, and that message was that people shouldn’t be uncomfortable when they see a woman in public breastfeeding a baby.
“It’s a completely natural thing, it’s something that’s important. If for some reason a mother feels that they can’t do that, it’s detrimental for them initially and detrimental for the child.
“It’s an important message and this is just a different way of communicating that. You can see from the people it has reached on social media that it has resonated with a lot of people.
“We all have to do our bit to ensure that these mothers are not isolated and don’t feel that they can’t breastfeed in public.
“It’s one of the most important sculptures that we have done, and a lot of thought went into the stance of the woman feeding the baby, the way she is looking down and the relaxed approach and what not. You can feel the warmth and how natural that is by looking at those balloons.”
Catherine Muldoon from the Breastival organisation in Northern Ireland said the sculpture was a way of starting up conversations with people around the town.
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Catherine added: “We came up with the idea of a balloon sculpture in Omagh as a way to engage people out and about to have the conversation around breastfeeding.
“Breastival is currently running online this year with a full week of incredible events ranging from yoga and campaigning, to political engagement sessions.
“This year we were very keen to ensure the word about Breastival got out to people in new areas. Omagh is my home town and I knew it would be the perfect spot to create the opportunity to celebrate Breastival and World Breastfeeding Week.
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