Begotten not Made by Martina Quinn
Kilkenny Sculpture Trails gives people the opportunity to explore over 30 incredible works by 20 artists, designers and craftspeople at landmark locations across the city.
Design & Crafts Council Ireland’s (DCCI) National Design & Craft Gallery is using multiple sites along Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile to create a unique outdoor exhibition experience and sculpture trail. The opening of CONNECTED is the first step in what DCCI and partners across Kilkenny City and County plan to develop as a permanent fixture. Kilkenny is renowned for the range of cultural offerings marked by a packed calendar of festivals throughout the year. CONNECTED builds on existing cultural gravitas and provides a platform to highlight the craftmanship involved in developing large-and small-scale works suited to the great outdoors.
Rosemary Steen, Chief Executive of Design & Crafts Council Ireland, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with our partners on this landmark external exhibition. CONNECTED offers us the opportunity to explore and re-connect with our heritage and culture. Recognised as the home of design and craft in Ireland, Kilkenny has supported DCCI for many years. We hope that by presenting this exhibition, we will offer an additional and timely outdoor attraction that will aid the city’s recovery and bring joy to those who visit. We look forward to showcasing and celebrating the enormous talent of our designers and craftspeople through CONNECTED.”
Located in the Castle Park, Alan Meredith’s ‘The Fold’ stretches over eight metres providing plenty of space for socially distanced gatherings. James Horan’s ‘Figures on a Pedestal’ in Butler House Gardens are carved from white Italian marble with one male figure, carved from Butlers Grove limestone quarried just outside Kilkenny city. Saidhbhín Gibson’s ‘40 Assorted Dressings for the Prickly Pear’ is a playful piece whereby dressings have been specially made for injured parts of a plant, akin to buying a packet of 40 assorted plasters for cuts and bruises. There is a poignant undercurrent to much of the works on display. ‘One Million Stars‘ at the Medieval Mile Museum is a project born from the Amber Women’s Refuge to raise awareness of domestic violence. Rajinder Singh's ‘Un-migrant-ing’ features five caged birdhouses reflecting Direct Provision Centres in Ireland.
Colette Byrne, Chief Executive of Kilkenny County Council, commented: “CONNECTED will bring visitors through Kilkenny’s medieval streets, lanes and buildings. It will present new works and discoveries in the heart of Medieval Kilkenny and provide surprises that will delight.”
Ciaran Conroy, Chief Executive of Kilkenny Civic Trust, also commented: “We are delighted to be involved with this excellent initiative in our venues at Butler Garden, Castle Yard and the Medieval Mile Museum. It is a great collaboration by multiple local partners to showcase the very best of Irish design and craft in our wonderful heritage settings.”
The opening of CONNECTED coincides with the launch of Kilkenny Arts Festival and the opening of the new Butler Gallery at Evans Home. A range of self-directed activities are planned for the trail along with behind-the-scenes chats with makers. Whether you choose to meander through the city or actively engage, CONNECTED will demonstrate the power and beauty of artistic expression in revealing the extent of our interdependency and connection. The trail invites locals and visitors to discover Kilkenny through fresh eyes and to re-connect with culture outside of a gallery setting. CONNECTED runs until October 2020.
CONNECTED reminds us of the importance and fragility of our human connections, with family, friends and wider global society. It also reflects on our deep interconnection with the natural world which each generation holds in trust for the next.
Venues include: Kilkenny Castle, Castle Yard, Butler House Garden, Medieval Mile Museum, Rothe House, Butler Gallery and sites throughout Kilkenny City.