I’ve been invited to participate in an exhibition in Leuven, Belgium this summer. The other artists in the show will be Colin Martin, Hughie O’Donoghue, Geraldine O’Reilly and Robert Russell. This exhibition is part of the calendar of events to celebrate the Irish EU Presidency 2013. (http://eu2013.ie )
The location is the Irish College in Leuven ( formerly known as Louvain). Founded by the Irish Franciscans in 1607, the college was renowned as a centre of learning. In 1614 they had established their own printing press and they developed a new font specifically for printing in the Irish language. ( The language of the college was Irish until the 18th century ). For more information see: http://www.leuveninstitute.eu
Using the manuscripts of the Franciscans as inspiration, we were asked to respond to the notion of an Irish identity and to explore our historical and contemporary relationship with Europe. It was an interesting subject but a complex one. Above is a detail from one of my pieces, entitled: Lon Doire an Chairn/ Blackbird of Doire an Chairn. Its starting point was a poem from Irish mythology where the warrior Oisín addresses a monk and contrasts the song of the Blackbird with the sound of the church bell.