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Smidiríní: A collaboration with students from Meánscoil na Toirbhirte, Dingle, and IMMA

A richly diverse exhibition of works from the Irish Museum of Modern Art Collection, curated by fifth-year art students from Meánscoil na Toirbhirte, Dingle, Co Kerry, opens to the public on Thursday 1 May 2003 at three venues in Dingle – Siopa na bhFíodóirí, Údarás na Gaeltachta and St Mary’s Church. Smidiríní, the culmination of a year-long curatorial project represents a celebration of a creative collaboration between the students and staff of Meánscoil na Toirbhirte and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, embodies the spirit and participative objectives of the National Programme.

The project was designed both to increase and develop the students individual abilities while at the same time encouraging them to collaborate with their classmates in a constructive and productive way. Most of the works represent the individual choices of the students and was followed by research on each of the artworks. The artworks encompass a wide range of media such as the screenprint, ‘When I woke up in the morning, the feeling was still there’, by Angus Fairhurst, a coloured panel which is deliberately blurred around the edges to suggest the uncertainty of the emotions mentioned in the title, selected by Julie Ní Mhuircheártaigh. The sculpture,
‘Francis Street Boys’, selected by Bríd Ní Churraín, a portrait of 15 students made from a plaster cast of their head and shoulders, was made as the result of a collaboration between the artist John Ahearn and the 4th class boys of the Christian Brothers School, Francis St. However some work received unanimous approval such as the film piece, ‘Waves’, by Marie Jo LaFontaine, shot in the West Coast of Ireland it displays the power and passion of the natural world.

The curatorial process involved a series of meetings, both in Dingle and Dublin, where the artworks were discussed and selected and where venues and layout where researched and decided upon. Each student designed an individual catalogue, the overall design was then debated by the whole group and elements of each design were incorporated into the final catalogue.

Commenting on the project Johanne Mullan, National Programmer, IMMA, said: “IMMA welcomes the opportunity to be challenged and questioned about what it means to put art on show for the public. During Smidiríní it has been thoroughly refreshing for the Museum to be held to account by such an enthusiastic group of young curators. With its kaleidoscope of diverse elements Smithiríní represents the exuberance of youth, yet is unified and underlined by themes of community and locality. The group worked above and beyond our most optimistic expectations, approaching the project with a vigour and freshness which could challenge any professional curator. The project would not have been possible without the continuous commitment of the group and their art teacher, Brenda Friel”.

The National Programme is designed to create access opportunities to the visual arts in a variety of situations and locations in Ireland. Using the Collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and exhibitions generated by the Museum, the National Programme facilitates the creation of exhibitions and other projects for display in a range of locations around the country. The National Programme establishes the Museum as inclusive, accessible and national, de-centralising the Collection, and making it available to communities in their own localities, on their own terms, in venues with which the audience is comfortable and familiar.

The exhibition is supported by Údarás na Gaeltachta and Féile na Bealtaine.

A full-colour catalogue designed by the students accompanies the exhibition (price €5.00).

Smidiríní continues until 10 May 2003 at three venues in Dingle, Co Kerry – Siopa na bhFíodóirí, Údarás na Gaeltachta and St Mary’s Church.

For further information and colour images please contact Monica Cullinane at Tel : +353 1 612 9900, Fax : +353 1 612 9999 Email [email protected]

16 April 2003