As the exhibition draws closer we got together to review the work we had made during the practical workshops and at home or in the studio. We met at the Saldanha Gallery at Artlink Fort Dunree which will be the venue for the exhibition in April. A video document of the exhibition will be shown in the Tower Museum.
We worked our way through each of the pieces. Sometimes selecting the best version of a print, sometime discussing final edits, ways of presenting. There were a few ‘lightbulb’ moments were the works and the venue joined up so nicely.
We mulled of it all over a delicious lunch that included lots of home-made goodies soup, bread and maybe a few too many cakes and pies. We decided on press officers, a graphic designer and a photographer. All we needed now was some frames and screens and we’re ready to launch.
It was very important for the group to have the opportunity to enhance their skills, develop their practice and have a chance to produce a physical outcome. It was decided we would have workshops in Creative Writing, Film Editing and Printmaking.
In this beautiful region we are blessed with some very talented people and so we reached out to Bernie mcGill (author), Rory McSwiggan (film maker, performer) and Paul Barwise (artist and master printmaker) to facilitate workshops that would inspire and energies participants and enable them to develop their ideas. The workshops took place at Nerve Centre and Derry Print Workshop. The outcomes will form part of the upcoming exhibition.
“we have no clue and we are just waiting to see what happens”
Caroline Luberhuizen is undertaking a masters in Anthropology
and she has been meeting farmers in Northern Ireland to talk to them about the impact
the border has on their life and how they expect it might affect them post-Brexit.
She shared her research with the group describing the liminal space that
farmers find themselves in between governments, between lands.
Early in the project Garret Carr’s name came up as being an
important person to talk to about borders. He joined up in December to talk
about his projects which looked at mapping and the map as a metaphor. He told
of the many map makers he discovered and how they contribute in a very beautiful
way to our understanding of place and identity. Carr also walked the border
looking at it as a place in of itself, noting those places where unmarked
crossings had been made; local desire lines.
Again, we wrapped up by discussing where each participant
was on the project and what kind of things were being explored. There are still
ideas brewing as well as works well under way.
In November 2019 the group made their way to the village of
Clady near Strabane. Some of the group had participated in the recent ‘Voicing
the Bridge’ project there and were keen to learn more about life on the border
from the towns’ residents.
Johnny Kelly from Border People Against Brexit talked to the
group about why this cross border, cross-community, politically unaligned group
was established and what they were doing in response to their belief that a
border would have devastating effects on them and their communities. It was
remarkable to hear how this group of people came together and were not influencing
the decisions being made at European level. Kelly was eloquent, passionate and
generously spent much more time than planned with the group answering all their
questions with clarity and respect.
Eamonn Lafferty, a resident who is also involved in the ‘100
words 1 picture’ project also talked about his experiences of growing up,
living and working in and away from Clady and the changes he saw, physical and
societal. Marcus O’ Neill also spoke about his experiences and difficulties of
living in a town with a manned border. He talked about his life now, paddling
the Foyle river, enjoying nature bringing up his family in peace.
We rounded up the day with each participant talking about
the approach they were taking with the project. Some had begun work, others researching,
others still not quite sure what direction to take. It was very useful for all
of us to hear how each person was experiencing the project in a unique way and
the resulting work should make an excellent exhibition.