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What Lies Beneath: Capturing the force of nature in everyday life

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Can You Stop Nature by Andrea Calabro

Can You Stop Nature by Andrea Calabro

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Can You Stop Nature by Andrea Calabro

ANDREA CALABRÓ Can you stop nature?

Andrea Calabró’s family was always on the go. Her Mexican mother’s mother is of Spanish descent, her grandfather of Navajo and Yaqui descent and her Argentina-born father, of Italian parents, fled during a military coup to Madrid with his family aged 12.

“My dad has a hippie soul and dreamed of living in a community, sharing everything, so he moved to Mexico aged 22. My mam’s family bought eggs, milk from the farm and that’s how they met. They fell in love, married, I was born in Hermosillo and when I was a year-and-a-half we moved to Spain where they started a small organic food business.”

Growing up, her parents “really promoted my creativity”. Calabró wrote and she played violin, piano and flute, and “I never stopped drawing since I was able to lift a pencil”.

Aged 18, Calabró moved from Spain to Roscommon as an au pair. “I didn’t specifically pick Roscommon; Roscommon picked me. I told the agency I didn’t want a big city as I wanted to avoid Spanish speakers and they found a phenomenal host family in Roscommon.”

Calabró had never been to Ireland before but she loves trad and Celtic music and was told Irish people were nice. Her au pair experience was “fantastic”. What she didn’t expect was “how expensive Ireland was”.

That was eight years ago. Initially, she “struggled a lot with the Roscommon accent but made it through!” and now speaks English with “a bit of an Irish twang. The irony being that tired of small-town mentality I left my hometown Súria and I ended up in Roscommon.”

Calabró fell in love with Ireland, decided to study Fine Art, prepared a portfolio and “loved, loved, loved” Dublin’s National College of Art and Design. 

"It was beautiful to see that everyone there is open-minded, accepting of everything. I also loved Thomas Street. It keeps you grounded,” she said.

"But, and I’ll be banished by the art community for this, some tutors are really stuck in their own ways… and if you don’t do what they consider art you won’t do well.”

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Print is her favourite medium. “I fell in love with the process, I found my place” and “little things from everyday life” capture her interest. 

“It could be something from home, on the streets, even a videogame. I like to create stories, explore that inner child in you without judgement and prejudices.

“One series, Imagine-brella, came about when I was working in a shop. It was raining outside and the few customers that day came looking for umbrellas. When it was quiet in the shop I began designing imagine-brella images.”

Other prints feature a fruit-seller in Vietnam where Calabró spent three months, others again feature cats, trees, cherries, lemons, silhouetted figures and this print, Can you stop nature?, “features a real forest that I edited to make it look dreamy and added the animals, bear and goat, lower right, to create a narrative. The traffic lights are from Drumcondra. Humans fight nature, destroy it, build on it.”

Calabró, struck by “how nature seems to crawl everywhere”, creates a forest growing over a road. Two lonely traffic lights try to stop the flow of animals. And fail. Nature always wins.” 

www.andreacalabro.com
@andrea_calabro_art
https://www.facebook.com/
AndreaCalabroArt

Andrea Calabró at The Library Project, Dublin, until Wednesday; at Graphic Studio Gallery opening September 18

On show

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Picture from Miriam O'Connor's 'Tomorrow Is Sunday' exhibition

Picture from Miriam O'Connor's 'Tomorrow Is Sunday' exhibition

Picture from Miriam O'Connor's 'Tomorrow Is Sunday' exhibition

MIRIAM O’CONNOR
Tomorrow is Sunday

O’Connor, following the death of her brother, returned home to help her mother and sister run the family farm. Using photography, O’Connor explored intense grief, captured routine farm tasks and made a series of self-portraits. Animals, rocks, water troughs, stakes, gates and especially a tree became a huge source of comfort. RHA, Ely Place, Dublin. Until August 29

AOIFE DUNNE
7thSENSE

This immersive, multihued exhibition explores the acoustic creation of space. Dunne, using new and old electronics and found and distorted audio, creates for the visitor the sensation of sound moving about the gallery space. With language rooted in post-pop and post-internet Dunne’s Her work submerges audiences into phantasmagorical, detail-driven virtual and physical worlds. The LAB, Foley Street, Dublin. Until Friday


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