THIS Saturday June 25 at 12.30pm, residents of Killane Drive in Edenderry see the beginnings of a new art work which they have helped to create with artist Ceara Conway.
Every household will ceremoniously plant a tree they have chosen, among which 25 ‘bird house’ sculptures will be erected later in the summer. The bird house sculptures will be stainless steel ‘houses’ set atop 3m high steel poles.
The trees being planted this Saturday provide the setting for the sculptures and over time as the trees grow the whole installation will change and mature.
The project has been funded by Offaly County Council under the per cent for art scheme, and artist Ceara Conway was selected to work with the residents of Killane Drive in Edenderry to devise a new feature for the large green in front of their estate.
The residents were keen to create a feature which would become an interactive feature for the children who play on the green, one which would also appeal to adults while becoming a focal point for future community gatherings. Ceara’s submission focused on devising a project in collaboration with the community and the residents felt that this would provide a more meaningful outcome than a preconceived idea. The artist began in February 2011 and began with discussion groups and workshops with interested residents and children.
“A core group met every Tuesday morning and we’ve arrived at an idea everyone is happy with. I’ve talked with a lot of people and even given my slide show talk in people’s kitchens and I’ve spent time watching how the children use the estate. The beginning point has been a combination of the needs of the residents plus what’s grabbed my imagination. I’ve been inspired by several things, watching the kids play has given me info on what type of space they need, and a few residents mentioned the lack of birds on the estate because the estate is so new. I find a great symbolism in this idea of creating an environment and that of creating home. Birds, nesting, bird houses, play houses, meeting areas linked with bridges, landscaping, and creating an environment for wildlife, these are all the things were looking at.
“We’ve also been looking at the work and philosophies of the artist Friedrich Hundertwasser in the group. We installed a number of billboards on the estate with information on the project and drawings and ideas that we’ve worked on so far and left a blank one for people to add their thoughts. This created quite a stir, kids drew on it and groups of the residents stood in front of them having discussions”
Having studied Art at the Edinburgh College of Art, Alfred College, New York and NCAD, Ceara Conway went on to set up a Glass Blowing Studio in Rome for two years before returning to live and work in the west of Ireland. Her area and interest of practice focuses on Participatory Art Projects and residencies where she has the opportunity to address issues that are of interest to her. She does this through her collaborations with Community Groups, Artists Residencies and Public Commissions. Her most current projects include an Artists Residency with RTE Radio na Gaeltachta and a Per Cent for Art Commission in Ballinasloe.
Check out Facebook: Killane Drive Public Art Project 2011 and see www.cearaconway.com