The Arts Interview: Naomi Strinati

Although, born in my mother’s home place of Cheltenham, I have lived in Dooradoyle, all of my life.

Although, born in my mother’s home place of Cheltenham, I have lived in Dooradoyle, all of my life.

My surname comes from my Italian grandparents. I went to Primary School in St. Nessans NS and am now in my final year at the Salesian College, Copsewood, Pallaskenry. So far, I have been studying in my stride and am not getting too stressed about it.

Doing art is a great escape.

My family has been very supportive of me pursuing a career in art. My brother, who is in his second year of Architecture at the University of Limerick, has taught me how to use computerized design systems. I like to work big and my art takes up most of the wall space in my house. As well as experimenting with lots of different materials for my own portfolio, I have also been looking at scale.

Next year, I want to study Graphic Design at the Limerick School of Art and Design.

I like simplicity in design and am studying graphics currently as part of my art course. For example, we are designing entries for the Credit Union Poster Competition. This national competition attracts up to 50,000 entries a year and I would love the opportunity to have my design seen nationwide. The entry process into Art College is by way of selection, based on a viewing of your portfolio. To improve my chances of being selected I have attended both night courses and summer classes in portfolio preparation. Recently, I have, also, been working on developing sketch books and working with different materials.

All that Limerick has to offer, artistically, was made apparent to me on Culture Night.

I visited ‘Bellwether’, the exhibition of Wickham Street Studio Artists, curated by Aoibheann McCarthy, LSAD, Limerick Printmakers and also the Henry Moore exhibition at The Hunt Museum. I felt that the city really came alive that night. There will be lots more opportunities for Limerick people to involve themselves in artistic life, as the city becomes the cultural centre of Ireland, in 2014. We could do a lot to lift ourselves out of the current gloom if we took the time to relax and explore some of Limerick’s many cultural opportunities.

Studying art history this year has been particularly interesting.

I have looked at artists from the Renaissance period as well as medieval architecture and objects from pre-Christian Ireland. I visited the exhibition of Irish seascapes at Limerick City Gallery Of Art (LCGA), looking at artists such as Paul Henry, Nathaniel Hone and Mainie Jellett. We, also, visited an exhibition of artwork at the Church Gallery, LSAD, by students who had completed projects, with trainee teachers, from the Higher Diploma in Education programme. Our own work was made around the theme of African Vernacular Architecture.

You don’t have to be ‘arty’ to enjoy art.

I became more aware of our vibrant city culture while doing work experience in LCGA during my Easter Holidays. Towards the end of my summer holidays, I and six other young people became involved in LCGA’s youth workshops and projects. Together, we formed LCGA’s Young Curators with Shinnors Scholar, Aoibhie McCarthy, and have selected an exhibition, from the Permanent Collection, with her. We are anxious to show that galleries and museums are places where young people can come, to enjoy themselves, participate, experience new things, and even do free classes. The exhibition includes works by Daniel Maclise, Jack B. Yeats, and Seán Keating alongside contemporary works by artists such as Janet Mullarney, Donald Teskey and Siobhán Piercy. There will, also, be free Mid-Term Youth Workshops in art forms, such as Animation, Street Art, Movie FX Artistry and portfolio preparation, at LCGA’s Hub space.

Even though many young people feel that they do not have a voice, this exhibition shows that they certainly do.

There are many ways of coming together and communicating the ideas of young people. The first week we came together, at LCGA, we talked about those issues and ideas affecting Ireland. It was so interesting to work together on a youth led project for other young people and all of LCGA’s visitors. My fellow participants have been so inspiring and we have helped each other to develop ideas about the artwork in the LCGA Collection. Our aim was that other young people would come and enjoy the exhibition, be engaged by our responses, and look at the collection with new eyes.

Alice Maher is one of my favourite artists.

She depicts traditionally ‘feminine’ images such as long hair, dresses, and home scenes in an uncomfortable light. For example, one subject of her art, a girl, is depicted as hanging by her plaited hair from above, while wearing a dress that is too big. For me, it seems like Alice was talking about how these traditional roles no longer fit women and are maybe dangerous. I also selected a ‘ball scene’ by Daniel Maclise. This shows a group of dancers, focusing on a couple. At first, I thought that it was an image about movement, elegance, and the fun of the moment, but then it occurred to me that, perhaps, it was a scene about jealously. The man is holding a woman who is maybe trying to pull away. Women don’t have many female politicians to speak out for them so it is important to have visual artists to explore these issues!

I Go To Seek A Great Perhaps opens on October 10 (at 6pm) at Limerick City Gallery Of Art. For more information please see the website: www.gallery.limerick.ie To find out about free youth workshops at LCGA please view: www.limerick.ie