I’m taking part in a group show in Cló Ceardlann na gCnoc in Co. Donegal this weekend, exhibiting along with previous artists in residence, including Alexandra Ramires, Maria Boavida, Fotini Kariotaki, Mary Fitzgerald, Sara Everett, Ingo Dunnebier, Eliza Khachatryan and Bil Fleming.
To say that the residency at Cló made a big impression on me would be an understatement. Cló is a centre of cultural activity, hidden away in the mountains of Donegal. It has an impressive fine art print studio, a library, a large gallery and performance area… You can read more about it on their website: www.clo.ie but in the photo below, you can see the artists’ residence on the right and, on the left, the red building is the art gallery. It’s an artist-lead initiative providing creative exchange between artists from the Gaeltacht community and artists from all corners of the earth.
The people behind this venture are Ian Joyce and Oona Hyland and they have gathered around themselves a large number of artists, musicians, poets and writers who make up the extended Cló family, so to speak. I feel very privilleged to have been invited to take part and I look forward to being involved again in the future.
At the beginning of my residency I took part in the Samkura International Forum. Samkura is funded by the EU and it’s an art and cultural exchange project which links countries on the periphery of Europe – Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Georgia and Armenia. It is led by Cló and there are partner organisations in each country who organise various aspects of the project. Generally speaking, artists from each country go on residencies in the other countries and they collaborate and organise exhibitions and workshops together with local artists. I will be travelling to Georgia later this year to take part in an exhibition in Tblisi. There is more about this exhibition at http://artisterium.org
For me the interesting point in all of this is that… we’re going to the peripheries! I’m beginning to realise that one doesn’t need to be in London, Berlin or New York, ( or little old Dublin ) to find interesting art, or to make interesting art. Indeed, the international art scene seems so homogenous to me now, in this globalised world. Don’t we see the same sort of ‘stuff’ in Venice, Basel or Istanbul ? I’m beginning to think that maybe those on the margins have more valuable insights to impart…
and I was thinking at first that it was a crazy idea to have a fully equipped print studio in ‘the back of beyonds’ in Donegal but now, I’m beginning to see the light!