Particles or Waves illuminate Limerick’s historic laneways

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

Looking up: a group enjoys the innovative artwork on Augustinian Lane in the city, which forms part of the Particles or Waves art installation
RENOWNED Limerick artist John Shinnors will officially open a dynamic art project that is illuminating the city’s historic laneways this Saturday night.

RENOWNED Limerick artist John Shinnors will officially open a dynamic art project that is illuminating the city’s historic laneways this Saturday night.

On Midsummers’ Night the visual artist will open Particles or Waves, a City of Culture backed project involving staff and students from Mary Immaculate College and Limerick School of Art and Design.

A multi-faceted project involving primary and secondary school children, trainee and qualified teachers, third level staff in MIC and LSAD and artists Anne Clearly and John Connolly, it has seen five historic city lanes transformed.

Some 280 people in total - including 230 school kids - worked on designing art for six of the city’s laneways: Todd’s Bow, Fox’s Bow, Augustinian Lane, Woolworth’s Bow, Post Office Lane and Pike’s Bow.

Student teachers in LSAD collaborated with collaborate with visual art elective students from MIC to create responses to the ideas generated by the school children under the theme particles and waves, using imaginative drawing and animation.

12 schools in total were paired with the six laneways and the resulting drawings now illuminate the entrances to five of those, with Fox’s Bow hosting a double design due to the unsuitability of Pike’s Bow.

Anne Marie Morrin, who works in visual art education in MIC, explained that the idea of the project was to help children develop creative and imaginative skills with the anticipation that they might generate original artwork.

“The children’s constructive response was paramount to the success of the project, the open minded approach of the children embraced encouraged students to be more experimental and motivated then to develop their own creative approach to the theme,” said Anne Marie, who worked in tandem with Niall Quinn of MIC and Maria Finucane, Art and Design Teacher Education in LSAD on the project.

“From an educational standpoint the intention of Particles or Waves? was to use art practice to enhance teaching and learning in order to develop these skills in participants,” she added.

A number of the designs produced by the kids in national schools in Caherdavin, Monaleen, St Nessan’s, Presentation, Scoil Mhaithair De and Limerick School Project are either gracing the lanes or have been turned into animation.

The premise was to take a big idea like ‘how light travels’ and use art making and thinking to ‘make sense’ of the idea, said Ms Morrin.

“If the main streets are the arteries of the city then these little lanes are the network of veins and capillaries that bring oxygen to the whole body,” said Limerick artist Cleary, who works with Dublin artist Connolly on interactive art installations.

“We wanted to bring attention back to these places, the bows are something very particular to Limerick, and maybe set a wave of light going that could spread right through the city.

“The whole project is about connections and the idea that if you could set something in motion by having enough people involved then things could really start happening,” she added.