Saibhreas: Laois County Council
In a land that mourns the recent loss of material wealth, we sometimes have to stop and look at the richness that is all around us. Richness abounds in the Midlands and often it is free for us to enjoy; no money need change hands. Standing in the dusky evening as the light fades across the Slieve Blooms, monasticism ever present, castles, grand houses, burial sites, folklore, and hidden secrets beneath your feet as you walk the bogs and “the dark mutinous Shannon waves”. In such moments it is difficult not to feel the rich pull of history and ancient culture and how it juxtaposes with the now, in the Midlands. Ghost estates, emigration, modern settlers, and orbital routes. Arteries pulsating with high speed traffic through the Midlands, often whirring over hidden gems.
At the invitation of Muireann Ní Chonaill, artists associated with the Midlands have responded to the theme of Saibhreas, which means richness and abundance in Irish. Ranging from photography, print, painting and sculpture to film and audio, each artist has been influenced by people, surroundings and the life of the Midlands.
In this celebration of artistic creativity, the richness and abundance associated with the Midlands is acknowledged. Saibhreas was exhibited at the Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, in June 2015.
The artists: Aisling Conroy; Brendon Deacy; Brian Redmond; Caroline Conway; Cathy Carman; Eileen McDonagh; Eoin O’Conaill; Jerry Cahir; Jock Nichol; Ken Wardrop; Lisa Fingleton; Lorraine Walsh; Michael Boran; Niall Cahìr; Nick Miller; Nuala Hayes; Pat Fitzpatrick; Ray Murphy; Rita Duffy; Ruth Barry; Sharon Murphy; Simon Burch; Stephen Loughman; Vera McEvoy and Wendy Wright.
Curator: Muireann Ní Chonaill is Arts Officer in Laois County Council and Manager of the Laois Arthouse. She is a graduate of Arts Administration from UCD and has an MA in Visual Arts, specialising in Curating from IADT. She oversees the management of the Laois Arthouse in Stradbally. Last year she curated the Sitting residency by Nick Miller in the Laois Arthouse.
Thanks to Laois County Council Arts Office for assistance and special thanks to Wendy Wright for curatorial assistance in preparation of Saibhreas.