An opportunity with new audience – the challenge

An opportunity with new audience – the challenge

During the time the ‘Cloaked’ ( see previous post dated 3.12.19) installation was live I spoke at length with an artist, Jennifer Slater who has since invited us (myself & Caoimhe O’Dwyer) to collaborate with her on a idea she was brewing. She saw the potential for the Capes/habitable painting to be a form that you could be in. She works as part of a multidisciplinary team offering individual and group art psychotherapy to children and teenagers, mothers and babies at the Regional Child & Family Centre in Co. Louth. She saw similarities between elements of my own practice and her own, we spoke about Bobby Lloyd. Her art initiatives (ATI Art Therapy Intiatives) and site specific work The Drawing Shed.

The Drawing Shed 2009-2018

“As both an overarching idea and a hands-on approach for improving a neighbourhood, city, or region,place making inspires people to collectively re-imagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, place making refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value.”

Channeling the philosophies of placemaking, in December we worked at pulling together a proposal in time for the deadline to avail of a funding opportunity through Creative Ireland Louth – specifically the Louth 2020 Creative Ireland Community Grant Fund. Our project aims to enhance the creative playfulness, overall well being and relational bonding between infants and their caregivers through collaboration and participation in a series of 8 creative art workshops with professional artists from AAEX. We will engage mothers and infants from the Craobh Rua Youth and Community Project. It is hoped to work with fathers and their children during later phases of the project.

Our main objectives focus on the delivery of a sophisticated art experience for this vulnerable group in society; babies and their mothers, whom may both be feeling the normal stresses and strains of early care giving scenarios. It is also estimated that postnatal depression exists at about 28% in Ireland in urban areas, yet is considered to be greatly under reported due to stigma, societal pressures and cultural myths around motherhood.

My challenge now is researching the best means of connecting with this new audience, placing my work in a different context and how the work will be. Considering site specificity and the social context, allowing the work to be a space for non art audience and create a platform for their responses and engagement. How and where will the work be experienced. I want to use the floor and the ceiling and have the space between for the audience/participants to play with relational objects. More immersive than the ‘Cloaked’ installation. When I was experimenting in the studio I got inside the structure that I called the Shrine of Capes. This was the view looking up from the floor. What encounters can occur inside here when you enable people to create their own performance?

I’ll take the week (in Lanzarote whoop whoop) to unmake and remake capes visually, tease out the construction changes, make models, draw and design the floor space and relational objects. Already the labyrinth has resurfaced in my mind – as a suitable floor piece. Labyrinth as womb – a playful tribute to birth, creation and the journey that mother and child make together. Play as a way of growing together. Mothering mantle – a circus tent, a space for encounter, a shrine of capes adapted. The floor and ceiling can’t move, so I would like to introduce some tactile objects, soft sculptures than can be moved, passed around. On a day trip to IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art) with family I saw these.

Iran de Espirito Santo ‘Untitled/Corrections D’ , 2008 – Granite

Solid minimalist forms, that somehow speak of an ancient ritual and pattern of being in the landscape. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the artist was Brazilian.

And now to work……….