Absence, South Tipperary County Museum, Clonmel, Co Tipperary
South Tipperary County Museum, Clonmel, Co Tipperary
This exhibition marks the culmination of collaboration between South Tipperary Arts Service, The Clonmel Sheltered Workshop, Rehab Care and the IMMA National Programme. The exhibition has a specific focus on film work and includes work by five artists from the Collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art. A further feature of the programme is the first public showing of A little Piece of Us, a film by The Clonmel Sheltered Workshop.
The project started with the idea of working with a group of people who would not necessarily have had any experience in engaging with film work as curators or critics. The target group needed to be open to new ways of thinking and to experimenting with new ways of working. From the outset, the group became fully immersed in the film work, embracing this medium. Through working with filmmaker Will Nugent, they were facilitated to deliberate upon and consider their subject. Visiting the Irish Museum of Modern Art, attending screenings of the works, and later viewing work in their own environment, and discussing and presenting their own interpretations, the group selected a coherent body of work for the exhibition. An overview of the final selection of seven films from the Museum Collection presented thematic links. A palpable sense of absence dominates the exhibition, evoking emotions from loss and longing to quietude and mystery.
In addition to curating an exhibition, the group produced a new film, A Little Piece of Us, that seeks to respond to the thematic concerns of the selected works, as well as presenting their personal and group insights. Nugent reflected on his involvement in the project stating “This journey is a rich tapestry of interwoven strands of exploration. It involves my own perception and response to the beautifully crafted films in the IMMA Collection and artworks on display in the Museum on a specific date in time: my collaboration with a group from The Clonmel Sheltered Workshop, and my immersion in their daily work and private lives, both as individuals and as a coherent and dynamic collective.”
The resulting exhibition highlights the importance of a meaningful partnership process and is the result of a collaborative effort involving a number of key partners. The Clonmel Sheltered Workshop curated and responded to the film work in their working practice. Rehab Care is a voluntary organisation offering a range of services to people with disabilities. The Clonmel Sheltered Workshop is a day service which provides a service to 28 adults with intellectual disabilities. Staff from Rehab Care have been very involved in the project and made the comment that 'the project allowed the service users to participate in an entirely new and exciting field and interact with people from completely different areas of expertise'.
South Tipperary Arts Service aims to encourage community engagement and participation in the professional arts and to develop audiences in new areas of the Arts. The Art Service commissioned film maker Will Nugent to work with The Clonmel Sheltered Workshop to conceive and produce a film.