Saturday 1 October 2016

My cultural life: Aoife Ruane

Published 11/04/2016 | 02:30

The Little Museum of Dublin
The Little Museum of Dublin
Aoife Ruane
Proclamation

Aoife Ruane is chairperson of Drogheda Arts Festival and director of Highlanes Municipal Art Gallery, both on the banks of the Boyne. Drogheda Arts Festival gears up for its 12th festival in two weeks' time, with a host of indigenous and international artists and performers across all disciplines, and, set against the ancient backdrop of Drogheda on the Boyne.

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Art: Patrick Hennessy

I was really looking forward to, and was not disappointed by, one of a new series of exhibitions at IMMA. De Profundis - translating as 'of' or 'from the Depths' - is a new exhibition curated by Sean Kissane, revisiting the work of 20th century artist, Patrick Hennessy. Researched over years, with much of the work seen by the public for the first time and on loan from private collections, this exhibition offers a new look at the output of this artist, who, while creating traditional portraits, still lifes (above) and landscapes, also created works unlike anything being made in Ireland at the time - works that clearly marked him as gay. Hennessy's later work demonstrated an engagement with the emerging international 'queer art' movement of the 1970s.

Museum: Little Museum of Dublin

I am ashamed to say that I only made my first visit to the Little Museum of Dublin recently. Artist Fergal McCarthy - who has been known to live (and observe, and draw life) on a man-made island in the Liffey (Dublin Fringe Festival 2011), and perform a specially composed 'anthem' at dusk and dawn on the top of a shopping centre as part of a residency in Drogheda (2013) - has made a humorous Cartoon History of the Easter Rising there, with great views of St Stephen's Green. Take the 11am weekend tour that includes the 'Green Mile', led by historian and author Donal Fallon.

Gallery Talk: Royal Hibernian Academy

There is a great public appetite this year for material that is contemplative, reflective and involves contemporary interpretation of the 1916 period, both politically and socially, and there are so many talks, lectures, tours, exhibitions and events to choose from. Visual artist Mary A. Kelly gave a fascinating lecture, an exploration of what happens to the woman's story in art, revolution and life in Revolutionaries, Artists, Women, A Sacred Secret at the Royal Hibernian Academy on Ely Place, Dublin 2.

Film: Proclamation

The Gallery of Photography had a series of outdoor projections in Meeting House Square under the title Proclamation, that had been screened in the Irish Arts Centre in New York - a smashing range of work from artists across many disciplines, including visual art, dance and performance, each engaging with the Centenary of the 1916 Rising. It included a wonderful new film work by Anthony Haughey, Manifesto, which considers the idealism and contemporary implications of the Rising.

Theatre: An Easter Rising

Not 1916 again? Sorry, yes - but outside the capital, this time in Dundalk, where Upstate Theatre Project, using local research and historical testimony, engaged a community audience for an impressive performance titled An Easter Rising, which took place not in a traditional theatre, but across a historically charged site, including a series of basement spaces in the Town Hall building. They were originally cells in which prisoners stayed before execution. droghedaartsfestival.ie

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