The Portals of Wellbeing:
As part of Faoin Spéir artists Kim Doherty and Heather Brett invited fellow artists to explore individual and community experiences in the past year through the metaphor of “portals of wellbeing”. A portal is defined as a way in, an entrance or doorway, wellbeing is a common phrase today referring to feeling content and healthy.
Image by Caroline Conway
Working with fellow artists including Caroline Conway from Birr Co. Offaly, Julie Aldridge, art therapist and artist living in Co. Cork, Co Louth based Colm Mullen and Cavan artists Marilyn Gaffney Pepper and Rosie Cole the group explored through their individual art practices and shared zoom conversations the transition to Spring heralded by St Brigid. They considered Brigid and the month of February as a move from the dark of wintertime and into Spring light, new ways of identifying with place and time. The work created by each artist is diverse but shares one platform in a short animation on the theme of, portals of wellbeing.
Filmmaker and socially engaged artist Colm Mullen worked with the Drumalee Film and Photography Club to compile a short film that the group had worked on during Covid 19 in response to place. Different methods have been adapted from a singular painted image by Julie Aldridge to stop motion animation from Marilyn Gaffney. Gaffney says
“In celebration of Faoin Spéir ‘Portals of Wellbeing’ I have created a stop motion which includes drawings that represent Saint Brigid as the Patron Saint of the house, women, homemakers, midwives, fire, and babies. Saint Brigid is known as a loyal advocate for women, wives, and mothers. The Celtic Goddess Brigid was associated with fertility, the spring, fire, birth, and all things of creation.
With the couple of years of being isolated living through the Covid Pandemic, motherhood, for many mothers, has posed a different experience. The illustrations reflect upon these mothers and their innate bond to their babies.”
The artist Caroline Conway is experienced in collaborative, multi-disciplinary practice including moving imagery and sound and her experience in projection and working outdoors has proved invaluable on this project where for many of the artists this is an experiment in new ways of working and exhibiting.
The Portals of Wellbeing a video projection of the resulting work from the artists will be available on the gable wall over the Kinnypottle River on James Connolly Street at the Egg Market, Cavan on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 February 2022 from 6pm to 8pm.
The project is supported by Paula McQuillan, project manager, Bernard Connolly, Milestone Productions, Prop Serve, Paul Mulligan, town engineer and Brian Mulligan, Cavan town supervisor.
This is part of the Arts Council Faoin Spéir initiative with Cavan County Council Arts Office and Townhall, Cavan.
About the Artists:
Julie Aldridge is an artist, writer and art therapist, based in West Cork’s beautiful Beara peninsula. She offers art therapy supervision, teaching and workshops via zoom; also group and individual therapy in person where appropriate. Julie has a love of wild places, Irish culture and mythology. She is delighted to reconnect to the artistic community of County Cavan, through the Portals of Wellbeing event.
Image by Julie Aldridge
Heather Brett, poet, artist and facilitator. Cavan has been her inspiration for 30 years. “I love working in all genres and encouraging creativity in everyone”, says Heather.
Image by Heather Brett
Rosie Cole works as a visual artist, bright colours and themes of truth and wellbeing bounce through her work. She passionately shares the benefits of the creative arts through facilitating arts and health projects for young people, as a committee member to the Cavan Arts Festival collaborating and celebrating the arts is a favourite pass time of Rosie’s.
You can find works such as murals and willow sculptures across Co. Cavan and on TG4 this coming April, where she created and directed the description of crafts for a children’s art programme.
Portals of Wellbeing has been an enlightening project for Rosie, the teachings and ways of Saint Brigid enabled Rosie to conclude that ‘Wellness Lives Within’.
Image by Rosie Cole
Caroline Conway is a visual artist based in Birr whose practice includes light-based work. This piece is about resilience and recovery, a celebration of the cyclical nature of the universe, from galaxies to wildflowers, and our place within it , as we emerge from the dark days of the pandemic into a more hopeful Spring.
Kim Doherty has a commitment to art as healing. An artist who is an art therapist and works in arts and health, her work centres on Nature, Inner landscapes and Symbolism. The majority of the time Kim works with others and this influences her work. She is interested in connection and the human experience.
Image by Kim Doherty
Marilyn Gaffney has a Masters in Fine Art from the National College of Art and Design. She received the D.O. Sullivan Medal Award in 2009 following graduating with a First Class Honours Degree in 2010 from Sligo IT.
She is the recipient of the John O'Leary Award (2010) which entailed her to pursue residencies abroad, to which she has created a network of artists groups. Her works were described as 'very impressive' by Aidan Dunne, Art Critic from the Irish Times and the RHA gallery have her work in private collection.
Her most recent artist’s residency pursued was at Dacia Gallery in New York in 2019, whereby she took part in a series of life drawing workshops in the gallery and on the streets of New York working with various models and artists. Her current work focuses on the figure and portraiture.
Image by Marilyn Gaffney
Colm Mullen is a film maker and facilitator. His practice includes arts and health research and interventions as well as the traditional industry of film, photography, visual arts and design.
In collaboration with young people and community organisations he has produced drama and documentary films as well as public exhibitions of works, exploring questions relating to health, identity, community and place. He collaborated with IFTA winning writer/director Frank Berry on a feature drama film ‘I Used to Live Here’ which is now on the transition year school curriculum as part of a mental health promotion programme. His film 'Anima' is a documentary about the work of artist Marie Brett.