Responding to Lockdown - An Artists Perspective

Cootehill Arts Festival in association with Cavan Arts Office present:

Responding to Lockdown – An Artists Perspective

Cootehill, Co. Cavan

16th – 29th July 2020


(Cathaoirleach Sarah O'Reilly launched the Cootehill Arts Festival outside Cootehill Library on Wednesday morning accompanied by from left Sinead McArdle, Cootehill Library; Emily Jones, Tadhg Shields, Sarah Shields & Hattie Anne Smith  & Narissa Cosgrove, Cavan Arts Office. The festival is in association with Cavan Arts Office, Joe Keenan & Cootehill Library.  Photo: Lorraine Teevan)


At the beginning of April 2020 Cootehill Arts Festival made the difficult decision to cancel the July festival. We were facing into the unknown and couldn’t in all good conscience continue to plan a packed programme of events when in all likelihood it would be unable to take place due to continued restrictions.


As we are easing out of lockdown and restrictions are being lifted, we can take this opportunity to reflect upon what has been an incredibly unsettling period of time and unlike anything we could have ever imagined. So much of our lives has either been put on hold or cancelled. Like our own Arts Festival here in Cootehill we have had to cancel what would have been a jam-packed programme. But we weren't quite ready to draw the curtains completely. We feel very passionately about being able to support our local artists and we thought there is no better time than now. But how?


We needed to do something! As a collective, Cootehill Arts Festival and Cavan Arts Office have been working together (via the wonder that is zoom) over the past few weeks to come up with a way we could still celebrate the arts in Cootehill. We decided to put on an exhibition accessible to all.


We are living through history and making history. We think it's important to capture this moment in time through the eyes of our local artists. The word lockdown has had an impact on every aspect of our lives, and yet the wonder of human nature is its uniqueness to respond. And this uniqueness is exactly what we wanted to capture in this exhibition.


We have chosen a group of eight artists from Co. Cavan and asked them what word immediately popped into their head when asked to think about lockdown and from that word they have created a piece of art. We have a diverse group of artists specialising in a variety of disciplines – painters, printmakers, potters and writers. Noel Monahan, Paul Galligan, Jackie O'Neill, Marie Smith, Ross Cochrane, Rebecca O'Connor, Emily Jones and Gary Kiernan have all been commissioned to immortalise their response to Lockdown 2020.


Theatre, Masks, Grounding, Contact, Farce, Dream, Resilience and Impend. These are the words the artists came up with and what has followed are eight beautiful, strong, diverse pieces.


The original pieces shall be displayed in shop windows around Cootehill from 16th-29th July 2020 and it will also be on show via video loop in Cootehill Library. If a trip to town isn’t possible the exhibition will be available to view online across social media. A limited number of postcard packs featuring photographs of the works shall be available free, from the shops, with the hope that our audience will use them to keep in touch with loved ones around the world.






Date and time:

15 July 2020 to 28 July 2020


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