SWIMMING IN Blackrock is a Galway tradition. No matter what time of year, no matter how cold (and it can be very cold ), no matter the tide, no matter how rough the sea, it is something some of us must do.
Ask me or any of the other Blackrock swimmers and we’ll all tell you that there is nothing like it. The buzz you get from braving the elements, challenging yourself, making and meeting friends, and the sense of accomplishment afterwards, and the craic and camaraderie of your fellow swimmers is hard to beat.
Non swimming Galwegians can get a sense of what it is like by going to see the new exhibition in the Galway Arts Centre, which opens tonight in Gallery 2 - Bathers: 365.
Bathers: 365 by Anita Murphy, is an installation of photographs and audio records (of the elements and the swimmers recounting the history and stories ) capturing the experience and world of the all year round swimmer at Blackrock.
The work also shows how the swimmers retain an athleticism and a fitness, despite the advances of age, and looks at the great friendships formed in Blackrock.
Also launching tonight in the centre’s Gallery 1 is BREATHRHYME by Dutch artist Arno Kramer.
Arno lives and works in Broekland, a small village in the eastern part of Holland. Since 1995 he has been invited to Ireland several times as an Artist in Residence. He is very much inspired by Irish poetry and by a photograph he once saw in The Irish Times of a shop with dresses. He has used the image of dresses a lot in his work in relation to parts of the human body, hands, feet, etc.
In its composition and combining of images, there is an enigmatic character and an almost mystical element to the works that will be on show in Galway. By using watercolors and different drawing materials - like charcoal, pencil, and pastel - Arno puts layer upon layer on the works, until it has the enigma he wants.
Both exhibitions open tonight at 6pm and run until January 16. All are welcome and admission is free. For more information see www.galwayartscentre.ie