30 YEARS, ARTISTS, PLACES – Major Touring Irish Art Exhibition
One of the most significant exhibitions of Irish artists in recent years will be launched in glór Ennis this December ahead of an extensive nationwide tour. The exhibition marks 30 years since Local Authorities embarked on providing for the arts locally, featuring 30 artists and 30 places.
This is a must see, not just for the extraordinary line up of Irish artists who rarely find themselves curated into one room, but for the stories of how they each came to be purchased, commissioned or acquired by local authorities, therein lies the real narrative; the quiet, genuine and imaginative support for Irish artists demonstrated by our local government for the past 30 years.
James Harrold Galway City Arts Officer remarked on the early days of being an Arts Officer “No, we weren’t going to fund the local heat of the Rose of Tralee, and we didn’t do heritage. We would head off, free and untraceable, pioneering into the blue undiscovered hills and suburbs. Unbothered: we hadn’t mobile phones, no-one had. In the untethered bliss of communion with the invariably creative communities we encountered we were free to devise residencies, tour theatre, install exhibitions and bring our counties to life.”
Catherine Marshall of IMMA writes in the accompanying catalogue “..arts officers went quietly about their work, not heads of smart new venues, not curators of major festivals, not heads of glamorous collections but the real harbingers of the kind of change that empowers and transforms a society.”
At the heart of all this work are artists, and featuring in the exhibition are renowned artists such as Tony O’Malley, Alice Maher, Robert Ballagh, John Kindness, Norah McGuiness, Sean McSweeney, Sean Lynch and John Shinnors alongside alongside emerging artists such as Jenny Brady, Julie Merriman and David Stephenson and many others. The resulting collection speaks of places, people and home which reflects upon local authority arts development as just that, of a place and of a people, of rural and urban Ireland, of home in a changing island where we are bold with new ideas but rooted in our past.
This touring exhibition, which is being funded by the Arts Council, is the first real public telling of this story. The exhibition will tour well into 2017, beginning with Glor in Ennis (December 7 – Jan 21),