Ancient and Wild Exhibition December 2017 to 28 February 2018 at Johnston Central Library, Farnham Centre, Farnham St, Cavan.
On Monday 11th December 2017, Minister Heather Humphrey’s launched the group exhibition ‘Ancient and Wild’ at the Johnston Central Library, Farnham Street, Cavan. The project is an inter –sectoral project within Cavan County Council (Arts, Heritage and Geopark). The exhibition successfully embodies the aims of the Creative Ireland Programme 2017-2022.
Thirteen local artists including Heather Brett, Elena Duff, Paul Farnan, Jim Fee, Siobhan Harton, Ben McCabe, Kasia Zimnoch, and Pawel Kleszczewski, Cormac McCann, Rosarie McHugh, Bee Smith, Rikki Van den Berg and Freda Young, participated in the project.
The artists were exposed to the wonderfully diverse and interesting physical and cultural heritage of County Cavan. The art work represents the artists’ response to this county, its people and its rich cultural and physical heritage.
Artists attended three field trips exploring landscape, history, folklore and geology in Counties Cavan and Fermanagh. The first field trip focused on West Cavan and Fermanagh and provided artists with access and insights to deepen their understanding of the unique landscape of the Marble Arch Caves global geopark. Experts in the local area and in geology and archaeology including Grainne O’Connor and Simon Gray, awakened a sense of curiosity in the artists.
A second field trip during heritage week allowed the artists to meet Rachael and Ian Elliott, of Corravahan House, a protected structure. Presentations to artists on this day by Anne Marie Ward, Heritage Officer, Dr Kirstin Lemon and David Cullivan provided the group an opportunity to explore the built heritage and further establish links between architecture, geology and landscape.
The third field trip was hosted by the O’Dowd family at Trinity Island, Killeshandra and facilitated by Catriona O’Reilly, Arts Officer. During this trip, artists were exposed to the beautiful flora and fauna prevalent on the island. In addition, installation artist Patricia McKenna, spoke of the importance of place in her work, how it is contested and constructed and use of non-art space for audience engagement. Dr Sean McElwain focused on place shaping music and sounds. Each of the artists, through their interpretation have considered, responded and made art work that is reflective of, and pays homage to the unique and diverse heritage and the people of Cavan.
Heather Brett participating poet speaking about the project said
“it was a privilege to be part of an exhibition that wouldn't look out of place in any city! I love the fact that we were so diverse and responded totally differently to the environment and history....all of the artists involved provided the public with new viewpoints and thought provoking work and that is positive.”
Local schools were offered the opportunity to attend the exhibition and take part in a talk with the artists Heather Brett, poet and Elena Duff, visual artist. These talks took place on 21, 22 and 23 Feburary with children aged 8 to 12 years. The National Schools who participated in the education talks were: St Felim's, Corlurgan, Killygarry, Kilmore and Ballyhaise. In total two hundred and thirteen children attended and were very responsive to the work in the exhibtion.