CULTURE night in Ennistymon will see a unique exhibition and artist’s talk at the Courthouse Gallery and Studios.
‘Tar Isteach’ is a participatory project with artists Maeve Collins, Monica De Bath and Julie Griffiths and will run from September 23 to October 23.
The project started out as a Bealtaine, Age and Opportunity Commission back in 2020, in partnership with Clare County Council, Galway City Council and Roscommon County Council.
The show is informed by a series of meetings, workshops and interactions with new Irish residents and citizens in Galway City, Lisdoonvarna and Ballaghaderreen in County Roscommon.
Tar Isteach draws on the experience and knowledge that each artist brings, folding these over with the artisanal skills and the cultural perspectives of a diverse range of participant groups both native and New Irish.
Embracing the Bealtaine theme of ‘Hospitality’, Tar Isteach interrogates the principle that it is only in our encounter with others that we can truly see and recognise ourselves. The Tar Isteach exhibition will include artefacts, notebooks, photos and video.
The collaborative processes explored, by the artists and participants, over the duration of the commission have encompassed vernacular skills, shared practices and rituals such as bread making and nurturing; Somalian bracelet making and weaving to generate dialogue and exchange.
By their nature, these exchanges have often been transient and interrupted, reflecting the vicariousness of the context in which participants abide and the difficulty and desire to connect even when the future is uncertain.
In Lisdoonvarna, Maeve Collins organised community encounters in a kitchen space in order to reflect on the importance and role of these spaces in the lives of newcomers.
This grew into an artist’s group who created works in response to their own experiences of being hosted or hosting on display in the exhibition.
When the original initiative was interrupted by Covid-19, Maeve felt that her own particular response needed more time to develop.
So with Arts Council, Creative Ireland Funding she created LIQUID GOLD. This is a travelling project that rolled out during 2022 exploring the practice of breastfeeding. The initiative
involved a collaboration between breastfeeding mothers and Gobnait Murphy, Lactation Consultant.
“I was impressed by the autonomy of Bukola, a breastfeeding mother I met in a Direct Provision centres, who was using her agency to feed her child,” Maeve said.
“I was breastfeeding my own child at the time, and to me, breastfeeding felt like the most personal form of hospitality. When I got an opportunity to make a work for Limerick Maternity Hospital, while feeding my second child I knew this was my chance to work with these amazing moms and breastfeeding groups in Clare.
“I learned so much in the process and developed a deeper understanding of some of the processes, difficulties and joys that you wouldn’t think a simple act like feeding your child would bring up. An animation was created amongst other art and non-art outcomes.”
The opening of Tar Isteach takes place at 8pm on Culture Night, September 23, and the show runs for a month.
An artist talk is scheduled to begin at 8pm and is of interest to artists and anyone who is an Irish citizen or new comer alike. Before the exhibition, families living at The King Thomond in Lisdoonvarna will have a workshop with Romina Bali and Nasreen Nabaoui, who are participating artists themselves.
Artists Maeve, Monica de Bath and Julie Giffiths are members of Ground Up Artists’ Collective, a support and resource organisation for a range of individual artistic practices, some of which operate autonomously while others engage in collaborative productions.
The group believes that some of the most important issues of our time are being played out in rural areas. The artists of the Ground Up Artists’ Collective recognise this and address some of these complex matters through their visual art practices.
Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald.
Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti.
She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway.
If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at email@example.com or telephone 065 6864146.