THE DIRECTOR and curator of Limerick City Gallery of Art, who is leaving her position this week, has said it’s “a matter of urgency” that the position is filled soon.
It was announced last month that the position is to be filled by redeployment process from within the public sector, a move which has raised concern in the artistic community. Helen Carey, who took up the position in February 2012 on a temporary basis, is leaving this week to take up a position in Dublin.
She told the Limerick Leader that she has not been informed of any successor for her role to date.
“I hope that there’s an interest in solving that quickly. Staff are doing an extraordinary job at keeping the show on the road but they can’t keep doing that indefinitely. I hope I’ll be succeeded by someone who’ll bring the gallery to new heights,” she said.
The vacant role has been advertised internally among the public sector “to be filled by the redeployment of a full time permanent civil/public servant”. The circular states that applicants must be established in the grade or equivalent they are applying for and must meet the requirements as set out in the job description, at a salary scale from €44,849 - €55,031. A spokesperson for Limerick City and County council said that the process to appoint a new curator is on-going and they expect to have a new replacement in place early in the new year.
Meanwhile, the gallery at Pery Square is launching not one but four exhibitions this Thursday night, as their year of culture draws to a close - even though just two of their projects were partly funded through City of Culture. Among the exhibitions is a new show of work by the renowned artist John Shinnors, which will go ahead without him being there to witness the unveiling, as he recuperates from a road traffic injury.
The 64-year-old artist was accidentally struck by a van driven by an off duty garda on the M7 motorway in early November, and the father of two has been receiving medical treatment for some time after breaking both his legs.
Ms Carey said it is a pity that he won’t be there, as the exhibition has been in train for some time, though his family will be present on the night. The exhibitions, which will be opened by Mike Fitzpatrick, chief executive of Limerick City of Culture, are, she said, “a fitting close to 2014 National City of Culture year, celebrating all that Limerick art and artists have presented.”
In addition to Shinnors’ new works, numbering up to six, there will also be pieces by artists Michael Canning and Gillian Kenny, who have featured in the gallery in the past. Their work will be shown in the ‘artists’ rooms’ in an exhibition curated by Ailbhe Barrett.
Gillian Kenny, Ms Carey said, has produced many intimate and thought-provoking pieces in the past year, reflective of early motherhood.
In the third show, another artist who is no stranger to the city has returned from London for a second City of Culture outing. Limerick-born Andrew Kearney, whose installation Tell me Something can still be viewed at the old Cleeve’s factory, returns with a show, entitled The Meaning of Nothing.
Ms Carey said that the concept behind this installation is that “even though there’s nothing immediately visible doesn’t mean that there wasn’t something there to begin with, or that there aren’t traces of something left behind. What you see isn’t always the big picture.
“I think that’s quite a metaphor for Limerick’s output throughout the year, there’s always a legacy, and forms part of the next step.”
The other exhibition is a show of Limerick city’s art, dating from 1936 up to the present, in a selection by Dr John Logan from its permanent exhibition, including some that haven’t been seen often due to space issues.