Art project draws on water and memories

A PUBLIC art project by a native Kilkenny artist was launched by Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan in County Kerry on June 23.

A PUBLIC art project by a native Kilkenny artist was launched by Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan in County Kerry on June 23.

The opening of Pauline O’Connell’s “Drawing the Water” included a premiere short film screening and free community ceili in Milltown Community Hall, Milltown, County Kerry.

Drawing the Water is a short high-definition video that is an artistic response to a local public water scheme locally known as The Spout. This dates back to 1860 when the Godfrey family was instrumental in bringing free and clean water to the townspeople.

The event was filmed with attendees invited to tell their story of the Spout and Milltown for future generations to look back at and see Milltown on June 23, 2012 so as to create a social archive.

This year-long project focused its attention on the historic facts, the remembered stories and the stories fictionalised over time that result in a folklore relating to aspects of community gathering, time and memory of drawing/ collecting water from The Spout.

Working in collaboration with 4th, 5th and 6th-class students from the adjacent Nagle Rice National School on a book and animation project, the theme of water was explored. As part of the research, the artist worked with transition-year students in the secondary school about issues of identity, of rural and urban differences. The unanimous opinion regarding this difference was the “preferred” fact that people know their neighbours in the rural context.

A written description of the project will be reproduced in the archival DVD box set that is coupled with two high-definition DVDs. The second DVD synopsises the engagement process, the filmed art event and ceili. It will be archived in the libraries in Kerry, accessible by the public for future generations.