Thursday 19 July 2018

Art gives us the skills to deal with life and the freedom to think for ourselves

Voice of the artist: Children and young people are best to collaborate with, writes Helen Barry

Twins Albhe and Justine O’Driscoll from Killarney at the Cruinniú na Cásca, a Creative Ireland initiative, event in Tralee, Co Kerry. Photo: Dominick Walsh
Twins Albhe and Justine O’Driscoll from Killarney at the Cruinniú na Cásca, a Creative Ireland initiative, event in Tralee, Co Kerry. Photo: Dominick Walsh

Helen Barry

Art equips us with the skills to deal with life. Art is not just what we make or do with our hands or our bodies: art provides us with the freedom to think for ourselves.

Collaborative work with children and young people is an intrinsic part of my practice. They inspire and challenge how I work and often become a driving force in curating and editing.

My work aims to invite audiences to 'engage' and 'play' with sculptural objects and installations that stimulate the senses and develop the dexterity of the body and mind.

I borrow and I play with different art forms and engage with multiple disciplines - engineers, choreographers, nuns, organ builders. In the artist's mind there are few boundaries and nothing is impossible.

There is little separation between the physical and the imaginary. Who best then to collaborate with than children and young people.

I invite my collaborators - babies, children and young people to explore and respond to the ideas, concepts, materials and designs that are in development in the studio.

Often what I bring into the classroom, crèche, playground, street, art gallery or youth centre is abstract in nature and deliberately without a clear narrative.

I want my collaborators to explore things on their own terms and find within themselves their own story, identify their own responses and express themselves.

Offering creativity as a core-learning tool instills a visceral confidence in the self.

Every collaboration is different: the dynamic of every setting offers limitless outcomes.

The material stimuli and manipulation of how these are used may change a little but the core of what we create together is rooted in the individual interest and uniqueness of the individual or the group.

 

Tugann ealaín na scileanna dúinn leis an saol a láimhseáil. Ní ionann ealaín agus go díreach an méid a dhéanann muid lenár lámha nó lenár gcorp: tugann sé saoirse dúinn smaoineamh dúinn féin.

Tá saothar comhoibríoch le leanaí agus le daoine óga ina chuid bhunúsach de mo chleachtas.

Spreagann siad mo chuid oibre agus cuireann siad dúshlán faoi agus go minic is iadsan a bhíonn ar chúl léiriú agus eagarthóireacht na hoibre.

Tá sé mar aidhm ag mo shaothar lucht feáchana a mhealladh le dul i ngleic le nithe agus taispeántais dealbhóireachta a mhúsclaíonn na céadfaí agus a fhorbraíonn stuaim an choirp agus na hintinne.

Úsáidim foirmeacha éagsúla ealaíne agus bím ag súgradh leo, agus téim i ngleic le disciplíní iomadúla - innealtóirí, cóiréagrafaithe, mná rialta, tógálaithe orgáin.

Ní bhíonn mórán teorainneacha in intinn an ealaíontóra agus níl aon rud dodhéanta.

Is beag deighilt atá idir an domhan fisiciúil agus an tsamhlaíocht. Cé ab fhearr, mar sin, le bheith ag obair leo ná leanaí agus daoine óga.

Tugaim cuireadh dóibh sin a bhíonn ag obair liom - leanaí, páistí agus daoine óga - na smaointe, coincheapa, ábhair agus dearaí atá á bhforbairt sa stiúideo a iniúchadh agus freagairt dóibh.

Go minic is rud teibí gan scéal soiléir a thugaim liom, d'aon turas, isteach sa seomra ranga, sa chreis, sa chlós, ar an tsráid, sa ghailearaí nó san ionad óige.

Ba mhaith liom go ndéanfadh mo chomhoibrithe rudaí a phlé leo féin agus a scéal féin a aimsiú iontu féin, a bhfeagairtí féin a shainaithint agus iad féin a chur in iúl.

Tríd an chruthaitheacht a chur ar fáil mar uirlis foghlama spreagtar muinín as féin sa duine, muinín a théann go smior.

Tá gach saothar comhoibríoch éagsúil ó na cinn eile: níl aon teorainn leis na torthaí a d'fhéadfaí a bhaint amach as dinimic gach láthair.

B'fhéidir go n-athróidh na spreagthaí ábhartha agus na bealaí ina mbaintear úsáid astu, ach tá croílár an méid a chruthaíonn muid le chéile fréamhaithe i spéis aonair agus uathúlacht an duine nó an ghrúpa.

Helen Barry, Visual Artist, Dublin, Amharc-Ealaíontóir, Baile Átha Cliath

Irish Independent

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