EACH JULY Galway International Arts Festival presents a diverse and quality range of work from Irish and international artists. The visual arts programme is entirely free and attracts thousands of visitors across the 14 days of the festival.
GIAF’s central visual arts hub is the Festival Gallery on Market Street, formerly the Connacht Print Works, and this year it will house three exhibitions. One of this year’s visual arts highlights is a festival commission by Turner Award-nominated artist David Mach, entitled Rock ‘n’ Roll. Mach’s work was last seen at GIAF for his exhibition Precious Light in 2012. Famed for his dynamic large scale collages, sculptures and audacious installations, Mach will use more than 190,000 newspapers weighing in excess of 20 tonnes in the creation of this exhibition. He and his team have been in Galway since mid-June working on the installation.
Also in the Festival Gallery, Sarah Hickson’s trips to the temporary refugee camps of Northern France are documented in her photographic memoir Sounds Unseen while abandoned fairgrounds, overgrown glass houses, and derelict hotels all feature in Galway-based Jennifer Cunningham’s new exhibition After The Future, which interrogates the way places become spaces and vice versa [her work Hotel is shown above].
A large-scale outdoor work, located at the Claddagh Basin, just opposite Claddagh Church, entitled Ghost Chapel, is based on the sixth–century chapel located on the uninhabited St MacDara’s Island off Carna in Connemara. It was created by students at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London.
Speculative Optimism is Deirdre O’Mahony’s essay film which points to the history of changing agricultural policies and can be seen at NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre; Cork-based collective The Domestic Godless will showcase their irreverent attitude towards contemporary food culture at the Galway Arts Centre [a work by them id [pictured above], and at GMIT’s Centre for the Creative Arts & Media, Impressions will highlight varying aspects of contemporary printmaking, both traditional and innovative.
Art of Protest at the Kenny Gallery, features work by artists who have made social commentary, satire, and political narrative part of their artistic output. Ronnie Hughes and Evgeniya Martirosyan’s Outflow in the 126 Gallery explores the fragility of lived experience, modern science, and philosophy.
The exhibitions are open from July 16 to 29. The Festival Gallery is open from 11am to 6pm, Mondays to Sundays, with late opening until 8pm from Thursdays to Saturdays. For opening times in other venues see www.giaf