An exhibition of work by Mayo filmmaker, Fergus Sweeney, relating to the tragic 2017 helicopter crash at Blacksod in North Mayo, will take place in Ballina Arts Centre on January 12 next.
Mr Sweeney was the successful recipient of a Film Mayo Creative Ireland Residency Award in partnership with Ballina Arts Centre, designed to benefit an artist in their own practice.
This residency award - an initiative of the Mayo Arts Service - allowed Sweeney time to develop new work, dedicate time to research, develop new ideas and work with the local community. A key component of the residency award was the mentoring requirement attached to it.
On March 14, 2017, as Sweeney was settling in for a quiet evening, an Irish coast helicopter came into earshot when it passed over his home village of Blacksod. Moments later that helicopter would crash. A search for the missing crew would last 42 days and Sweeney would find himself reporting on the tragedy for the duration of the search.
As part of the Film Mayo Creative Ireland Residency Award, Sweeney has been making a feature length documentary telling the story through a series of interviews with local Erris people who found themselves very much affected by the tragedy and resulting 42 day search.
As the residency now draws to a close, he will hold an exhibition of photography and give a talk on his experience, reporting the events at the time and outlining his plans for the forthcoming documentary.
The launch takes place in Ballina Arts Centre on Saturday, January 12 at 4pm with the official launch by Councillor Blackie Gavin, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council. The photographic exhibition runs until March 2 and admission is free and all are welcome.