Saturday 24 September 2016

Soldier's jacket weaves haunting story of 1916

Published 10/03/2016 | 02:30

Karis Boyne, Chelsea O Grady, Thomasina McNally, Ciara Meehan and Tori Kelly of St Mary’s Secondary School, Edenderry, who helped to create a 1916 soldier’s jacket using found materials.
Karis Boyne, Chelsea O Grady, Thomasina McNally, Ciara Meehan and Tori Kelly of St Mary’s Secondary School, Edenderry, who helped to create a 1916 soldier’s jacket using found materials.

It may not have seen service in 1916, but a soldier's jacket sculpted by pupils of a Co Offaly school tells the story of the Easter Rising in haunting detail.

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When it came to commemorating the events of 100 years ago, Fiona Farrell, art and design teacher at St Mary's Secondary School, Edenderry, and her pupils decided to use the soldier's uniform as a three-dimensional canvas upon which to represent their thoughts.

"The students covered the Rising as part of their history studies and had attended a talk on how it became intertwined in the lives of local people. The sculpture became a wonderful medium," she said.

Ms Farrell set them a challenge of using only found materials - with wire, plastic, tissue paper, packaging, old leather and pieces of hessian all put to imaginative use by students Karis Boyne, Moss Barngyim, Chelsea O'Grady, Cora Smullen, Thomasina McNally, Ciara Meehan and Tori Kelly.

She said the "worn and frayed" jacket depicts memories of the men, women and children caught up in the chaos.

"Scenes of destruction are visible and so too are fragments of text from the Proclamation. We have included the names of the poets whose words capture the mood of the time.

Plight

"Our collection of imagery and text almost appears woven into the fabric and materials as if the wearer is carrying their plight with him. The images seem to fade in and out as they do in our consciousness."

The unique sculpture will go on display in the school next Tuesday, Proclamation Day, and will also make a special appearance at Culture Night in Edenderry library.

Irish Independent

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