Monday 26 August 2019

Rozzi takes up An Táin residency

Artist Rozzi Kennedy at work.
Artist Rozzi Kennedy at work.

Margaret Roddy

South Armagh artist Rozzi Kennedy is this year's emerging artist in residency in An Táin Arts Centre.

Since graduating from Limerick School of Art and Design in 2008, Rozzi has worked as an artist and also spent time as an events co-ordinator for people in care settings in London and Belfast. Now, she is combining both these stands as she takes up the three month residency based in the Basement Gallery at An Tain Arts Centre.

Rozzi specialised in painting while at college and in her final year, she won a Purchase Prize when one of her works was selected for including in the National Drawing Collection in the Limerick City Gallery.

A residency in the Cill Rialaig, the artists' retreat founded by Noelle Campbell-Sharp in a pre-famine village on Bolus Head, Co Kerry, in 2012 prompted her to study the landscape as a source of inspiration for her work.

'However, I didn't get to do that for five years,' says Rozzi. A change in career paths led her to London where she worked as an activities co-ordinator in a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit and then in a specialist dementia care home in Belfast.

'I went back to working as a professional artist in 2017 and had my first solo exhibition, based on the rich cultural heritage of the Irish landscape and particularly in South Armagh, in the Ally Arts Centre, Strabane, last summer,' she says.

The title of the exhibition 'Kick Any Stone and History Leaps Up At You' was taken from the writings of the ancient bard Art Bennett.

2018 was to prove a big year for her, as not only did she have her first solo show, but she also became a mother, giving birth to daughter Jasmine.

'This means that this residency is perfect for me,' she says. 'It's on;y 35 minutes from home and it means I can still work as an artist and be a Mummy.'

'Being the emerging artist in residence at An Táin gives me the opportunity to work towards developing a collaborative practice over three months and also gives me the use of the gallery space during the month of September to exhibit my work in progress.'

As part of her residency, Rozzi is visiting The Birches twice a week, getting to know those who attend the Day Centre, and drawing on her experience of working in care settings in London and Belfast as well as her skills as an artist.

'I love it. I can really focus on the art and can use all the skills I developed in London and Belfast.'

She attended the Visual Artists Ireland Get Together 2019 speed curating day which resulted in her painting Orange, Green and All In Between being selected by PS Two Gallery for display on a billboard for the Peas Park in Belfast.

This piece, like a lot of her other work, was inspired by folk stories from her native South Armagh as collected by Michael J Murphy.

Rozzi is also a member of the ROGHA group of artists and craftspeople in South Armagh, along with Mary Cowan and Caóilfíonn Muprhy O'Hanlon of Bridge Street Studios, and will be taking part in their group exhibition in Armagh Tourist Office at the beginning of September.

Her work will be on display in The Basement Gallery for the month of September and she will giving children's workshops for Culture Night and having an open studio night at the end of her residency.

The Argus