An innovative project comprising an exhibition and book, which is forming part of the local Easter Rising centenary celebrations in 2016, has been launched.
A photo exhibition featuring one person with a Galway connection born in every year from 1916 to the present day is currently on display at the museum. The collection of portraits formed the basis for a book titled Rising Beyond which accompanies the exhibition and is on sale now for €20 in local St Vincent de Paul and Enable Ireland charity shops. The book is also available at News and Choose, Loughrea, with all proceeds going to the chosen charities.
It is extremely fitting that Galway city and county, with its rich cultural tapestry, plays host to a project of this type, and the exhibition and book display the progression of Galway city and county over the past 100 years, through its people. Galway’s population and their diverse roles in rural and urban life have contributed to the many changes which have taken place in the area over the past century. A bilingual aspect to the publication reflects the county’s huge role in retaining and promoting the Irish language. The aim of the project is to highlight the fact that the Easter Rising was not just a single event but that it was ‘a beginning for change’.
There are portraits of those who have made an unnoticed contribution to their local community or even within their family group, along with images of well known, high profile, faces from the world of sport, business, politics, media, and the arts. Some of the better known names to feature are Lelia Doolan, Connacht Rugby captain John Muldoon, former race walker Olive Loughnane, ICA Bootcamp star Josephine Helly, former Fine Gael TD Paul Connaughton, and Tiny Dancer, Lily-Mae Morrison.
The photographers involved are Loughrea man Ian McDonald, along with Gort resident Enda O’Loughlin and city based Bill Barry. The three are all members of Loughrea Camera Club and their shared love of photography led them to undertake this artistic assignment.
Ian McDonald outlines how the idea for the project came about. “This has been in my head for a long time. I was in the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona in 2004 and there was a whole wall covered in paintings of women aged from one to 100. A few years after that I thought about it again and decided it would be a great idea for an exhibition. Then I met the two guys through the camera club and I put the plan to them and they were really interested in exploring the possibility of getting the project off the ground. Originally the idea was to just hold an exhibition then it evolved into a book.”
The project involves a spread of people from Galway from Portumna to Gort and Glenamaddy to Connemara, and the Islands, meaning there is a county-wide interest. The book is shot in black and white and there is no doubt that it is an attractive coffee table addition. “The people have made Galway what it is today and hopefully the project will really display the changes down through the various generations. We are very proud of the exhibition and book and delighted to see the project come to fruition. I want to personally thank the 100 people who lent their time to be involved. It has been a brilliant journey, we had great fun meeting everybody and getting the pictures taken. We have had such positive feedback from everybody that has been featured.”