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Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

Ballyalla inspires glór exhibition


THE land, water and sky at Ballyalla Lake on the outskirts of Ennis provide the inspiration for the latest solo exhibition by local artist Evelyn Sorohan. Change of Climate is the title of the body of work which is on view at glór until Thursday next, April 25.
“My exhibition is mixed media and it explores the climate emergency and biodiversity loss and I aim is to challenge viewers to understand why we must take stock of what we stand to lose unless we act now. If we don’t take corrective measures right now, species that are under serious threat will disappear completely,” warned the environmental artist.
While recovering from illness, swimming in the natural ecosystem of Ballyalla Lake was her go to by way of therapy. The flowers, dragonflies, butterflies, swans, birds, and geese that she saw gave her a lift and she thought deeply about their status in the ecosystem. She undertook research through the National Biodiversity Data Centre and this gave her a clearer understanding of just how delicately balanced their future is given factors such as changes in vegetation, pollution and global warming.
“The National Biodiversity Centre has found that over half of all insect species in Ireland have undergone significant declines since 1980 and one third are now threatened with extinction,” said Evelyn.
“Each of my pieces includes a barcode that occupies a third of the piece to represent this decline. Increasing temperatures and flooding are having a major impact on wildlife as natural habitats are seriously impacted
“When people view my work, they are amazed at the diversity of wildlife that exists in such a small area as Ballyalla. However, they are also shocked to learn that the threat of species loss is every bit as real at Ballyalla as in any other place in Ireland,” she said.
As part of the Clare Arts Office-supported exhibition, her fourth solo effort, Evelyn has run workshops designed to develop environmental awareness and promote creative skills. The workshops challenge participants to come up with innovative ways to address problems caused by climate change.
Pupils from several Clare schools have been invited to view the exhibition and engage in the workshops and according to Evelyn there has been a very positive feedback.
“The discussions that the workshops generate throw up very interesting observations on climate action from primary and second level students,” she said.
Evelyn has been involved with local schools for several years, collaborating with both teachers and pupils to create multi media outdoor and indoor installations.
Members of Clare community organisations, including Ennis Men’s Shed, have also been among the invited attendees. Evelyn praised the efforts of the men’s shed team in developing ponds and a wild garden at Doora, which provide a haven for flora and fauna.
“As an environmental artist, I want to reach out to individuals and groups across the community and encourage them to be proactive in supporting projects that will protect our natural heritage. It is in our own interest and that of future generations,” Evelyn concluded.

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