A striking new sculptural work by visual artist Niamh McCann was unveiled last Friday, October 11, in the grounds of the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar.
The contemporary blue and red artwork is inspired by the crafting traditions of Ireland - particularly that of boat-making and the distinctive form of the Tuam/Sligo Chair.
The lakeside artwork was developed through Onsight - an annual arts initiative by the National Museum of Ireland, Mayo County Council Arts Service and Mayo Artsquad. The aim of Onsight is to provide an opportunity for artists and visitors to explore the themes of Ireland’s National Folklife Collection through outdoor art works.
Ms McCann’s new artwork is titled IMRAM Pavillion/Mother’s Lament, referring to a class of old Irish tales concerning a hero’s sea journey to the Otherworld. Celebrating the official unveiling, Ms McCann said: "I hope this artwork will function both as an object and a place of temporary shelter, reflecting and provoking timely questions about tradition and craft influencing the relationship between past and present; what experiences of space and structure evoke a sense of home; and how feelings of rootedness and belonging are created through ritual and craft."
Welcoming the new installation, Dr Audrey Whitty, Head of Collections and Learning at the National Museum of Ireland, said: "Onsight is a hugely worthwhile initiative providing opportunities to artists, Museum visitors and the Museum itself, to engage with, be inspired by, and present the Collections in new ways.
"This programme creates a changing landscape of art installations within the beautiful setting of Turlough Park and we are delighted to work closely with Mayo County Council Arts Service, Mayo Artsquad and the artists involved to bring these site specific artworks to a public audience.”
Ann Marie McGing, Acting Arts Officer, Mayo County Council, said: "We are delighted to be involved in Onsight again this year and to work with Niamh McCann. Onsight provides artists with a unique opportunity to make work in response to the National Folklife Collection and for their interpretations to extend the experience of the collection for museum visitors.”
Ms McCann is a Dublin-based artist who currently works out of the Fire Station Artists Studios (FSAS ). She is the recipient of various Arts Council of Ireland awards and fellowships at Cemeti Arthouse, Indonesia; HIAP, International Artists' Residency, Helsinki, Finland, URRA Artist Residency, Argentina and of Perspective and EV+A exhibition awards. Her work is represented in the collections of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the OPW, Limerick City Gallery, Swansea City Council, the London Institute and the Hiscox Collection, London.