'Copper' project reaches completion
Local community representatives came together at the Stephenstown Pond conference centre in Knockbridge, recently for a special exhibition to celebrate the completion of the Hand Beaten Copper Craft & Reconciliation Project. Funded by the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), the two-year project brought together ipeople from both sides of the border to explore attitudes to peace and reconciliation via the medium of copper.
Participants from both communities came together to acquire skills in hand-beaten copper craft, one of Ireland's oldest traditional skills. Supported by local hand-beaten copper craftsmiths, Shane and Roddy McCollum, participants worked closely together to design and produce individual sculptures representing their personal understanding of reconciliation on the island of Ireland and their interpretation of what peace means to them.
The course was also facilitated by dedicated workshops where participants explored the challenges faced by both communities and shared their experiences of the troubles and peace process.
The exhibition showcased the works of art created by the course participants during the project and included the unveiling of a major collaborative sculpture titled 'Eitilt Anama' (Soul Flight), representing birds in flight and reflecting the project's theme of peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland.
Geraldine McCullagh, project co-ordinator, said: 'On behalf of everyone involved in this project, I would like to acknowledge the generous support we've received from the International Fund for Ireland for this important reconciliation initiative. The project has been a great success by enabling participants to work together and learn from each other's experiences of the peace process.'
David Graham, Board Member of the International Fund for Ireland described The sculpture as is 'a powerful symbol of the Peace process'.
The project formed part of a wider Music and Craft at the Pond initiative funded by the IFI under its Community Based Economic and Social Regeneration Programme and administered by the Stephenstown Pond Trust with the aim of delivering cross community training courses and activities in Counties Louth, Tyrone, Armagh and Down.