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Ath Rí Rá: A collaboration with students from Pobailscoil Cloich Cheannfhaola, Co Donegal and IMMA

An exhibition marking the culmination of a collaboration involving IMMA’s National Programme, Ceardlann na gCroisbhealach, Falcarragh, Co Donegal and the transition year students of Pobailscoil Cloich Cheannfhaola, opens to the public at Ceardlann na gCroisbhealach on Saturday 30 April 2005. Ath Rí Rá , selected from the IMMA Collection by the students, represents a celebration of a creative and richly collaborative process for all partners and embodies the spirit and participative objectives of the National Programme.

The project was designed to encourage the students to increase and develop their individual abilities while collaborating with their classmates in a constructive and productive way.  There are two elements to the project. The first was to introduce the students to contemporary visual art and exhibition venues by establishing a relationship with IMMA and the opportunity to explore its national Collection. After visiting the Museum the students set about examining the Collection and selected a number of artworks to include in the exhibition. Secondly, the students identified a number of works that they would re-interpret themselves – creating their own work in response to the original artwork.

The exhibition includes The Gate by Deborah Brown which draws on two sources of inspiration, both dealing with human freedom. The first is suggested by Mahler's cycle Des Knaben Wonderhor which features a man imprisoned in his cell while his thoughts remain free. In his thoughts he goes up into the mountains and knocks on the door of his lover, who is symbolised in The Gate by an open door frame. The second source for this work lies in the Irish legend of the Merrow which tells the story of a fisherman and his encounter with a Merrow, or man of the sea. The Merrow and the fisherman go to the bottom of the sea where the fisherman sees the souls of drowned sailors trapped and succeeds in setting them free. 

Willie Doherty’s Protecting / Invading is concerned with the way images disseminated through mass media manipulate our interpretations of events and people, particularly in the construction of notions of ethnic or national identity. Doherty’s themes and subjects are drawn from his own local experience of his native Derry. He does not so much seek to present a more authentic representation of the political landscape, but to examine the "question of authenticity".

Tipperary-born Alice Maher, works with materials like bees, berries and hair. She builds up a strong relationship with their histories and cultural associations in the creation of surreal works that appear like enchanted objects from a medieval folk tale.  Berry Dress presents the delicate shape of the child's dress, decorated with ripe berries.  On closer inspection, the dress loses its innocence, taking on a more sinister appeal. The pins, which hold the berries in place, are arranged internally and should the dress be worn, these pins would pierce the skin.

Also included in the exhibition are a number of artworks created by the students themselves in response to a number of works from the IMMA Collection including Stack by Kathy Prendergast, Vong Phaophanit’s Neon Rice Field, the Head Series by Enrico Baj and Alice Maher’s Berry Dress .

The National Programme is designed to create access opportunities to the visual arts in a variety of situations and locations in Ireland. Using the Collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and exhibitions generated by the Museum, the National Programme facilitates the creation of exhibitions and other projects for display in a range of locations around the country. The National Programme establishes the Museum as inclusive, accessible and national, de-centralising the Collection, and making it available to communities in their own localities, on their own terms, in venues with which the audience is comfortable and familiar.

This project was made possible with the kind support of Údarás na Gaeltachta. 

Ath Rí Rá continues until 28 May 2005.

Venue:   An Gailearaí,
              Ceardlann na gCroisbhealach,
              Co Donegal,
              Tel: 074 9165594

Opening times:  Tuesday – Friday 10.00am – 5.00pm
                          Saturday               2.00pm – 5.00pm
Admission is free.

For further information and images please contact Patrice Molloy at Tel: +353 1 612 9900; Email:  

11 April 2005


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