Mary Cloake, Director, The Arts Council, to open exhibition in South Tipperary County Museum
An exhibition of works from the Collections of South Tipperary County Council, Mayo County Council and the Irish Museum of Modern Art opens to the public on Saturday 20 June 2009 at the South Tipperary County Museum, Clonmel, Co Tipperary. Altered Images includes work by artists Thomas Brezing, David Creedon, Alice Maher, Caroline McCarthy and Abigail O’Brien, with especially commissioned works by Amanda Coogan and Daphne Wright. The exhibition will be officially opened by Mary Cloake, Director, The Arts Council, at 7.30pm on Friday 19 June 2009.
Accessible, interactive and inclusive in ethos, Altered Images aims to stimulate engagement with the visual arts for the general public and particularly for disabled people. The idea that a visual art exhibition should be accessible to all is not a new one, most museums and galleries have an access programme that enables people with disabilities to experience art works. However, the idea of selecting an entire exhibition with an emphasis on accessibility in a multi-dimensional way is relatively new in Ireland. The exhibition aims to enhance people’s engagement with the works through the tactility of relief models, by listening to the audio and artist’s descriptions and by viewing the sign language interpretation by Amanda Coogan.
Altered Images works on many levels. Firstly, curatorial decisions were taken to ensure a cohesive body of work. The selected works all make reference to classical or art historical sources either in the method of depiction or their subject matter. While each of the partner organisations has very different Collections in terms of capacity and the period of time they have been collecting, it was agreed at the outset that each would be represented equally. Each art work is accompanied by a multi-sensory display in order to provide meaningful access. In addition, an audio CD and Braille documentation of the large-print exhibition catalogue are available on request. Sign language tours are available by arrangement and an accessible website for the project can be found at www.alteredimages.ie
Padraig Naughton, Director, Arts and Disability Ireland has commented on the exhibition in the accompanying catalogue; “What makes Altered Images an advance on what has gone before in an Irish context is the curation of a whole exhibition that has a multi-sensory approach to access thus having an inclusive appeal that will reach the widest audience possible. While in my reflections I have concentrated predominantly on my access requirements as a visually impaired person, Altered Images intends to provide access solutions that are cross-impairment while simultaneously creating an exhibition of equal interest and accessibility to a non-disabled audience. Consequently encouraging disabled people and their families and friends to come and explore the exhibition together. Furthermore it will for example allow people who are blind or deaf to explore the conceptual nature of visual and sound art along side non-disabled people.”
Altered Images continues until 5 August 2009 at the South Tipperary County Museum. From there it will tour to Ballina Arts Centre, Co Mayo from 14 August – 30 September 2009 and finally to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2010.