Askeaton’s annual programme of contemporary art, Welcome to the Neighbourhood, got underway this week with the arrival of four resident artists in the town.
The four artists - Sam Keogh, Quim Packard, Deirdre O’Mahony and Maya Schweizer - will spend the next few weeks creating art in the town which will then go on display to the public.
According to curator Michelle Horrigan, all four artists will create work inspired by their time living among the people of Askeaton over the next two weeks.
While there is no strict criteria for this work, one of the themes of this year’s programme relates to the impact of the proposed new Limerick to Foynes road and the larger, but directly related, issue of global trade and its impact on local communities.
“For us as an organisation, it was important to make a comment on what’s going on,” Michelle explained, pointing out that two of the proposed routes for the new road are very close to Askeaton and, if selected, would have major implication for the town and its people.
“It is important for people here that somebody in some office somewhere can put a stamp on a form and that will mean that you will have to leave your house in a few years or you will lose your farm or you will end up living on the other side of the motorway.”
As the brief for this year’s event puts it: “The Irish landscape is no longer one of natural harmony and rural simplicity, as many might think it is. Instead, it is a site implicated into the politic of spatial strategy, market dividends and managerial prowess”.
The artists were welcomed to Askeaton with a reception in the Credit Union on Tuesday. This Friday, stonecarver Stephen Burke, artist Sean Lynch and Askeaton’s recently retired castle foreman John Moone will take part in a discussion on the history and lives of buildings in Limerick and elsewhere, at Askeaton Civic Trust from 8pm.
On Tuesday, July 21, artist Liz Ryan will lead a driving tour visiting West Limerick’s folk art, including the Stoneyman, The Stump, the Devil and Saint Michael. The journey begins from Askeaton Civic Trust at 7pm.
And, on Saturday July 25, the public will be invited to view the works created by the four artists during an open day which will also include a reception and walking tour followed by the annual Hellfire Club Party, beginning at Askeaton Civic Trust from 3pm.