WEST Cork has long been a magnet for artists, many of whom have chosen to settle in the area, but what is the attraction to the area and what is it that entices them to remain and forge a life here? On Friday September 22nd at 7pm, the doors of Cnoc Buí Arts Centre in Union Hall will open to a ‘Céad Miíe Fáilte go Cnoc Buí Arts,’ one night for all in the community to celebrate the multicultural diversity of West Cork through the visual and performing arts.
It is long known that art can foster tolerance for other people’s differences and bring people together, and in establishing Cnoc Buí Arts and Community Centre, Aileen and Paul Finucane said their mission was to ‘focus on the advancement of the arts and offer an opportunity to exhibit, showcase and promote the development of the arts in the centre, equally to create an accessible, social, educational and recreational hub for the ongoing benefit of the local community.’
Eight artists will be showcasing their work on Culture Night, telling their stories of life as a working artist living in West Cork. These artists have cultural backgrounds from places as far afield as the Ukraine, Australia, South Africa, Poland, UK, Hong Kong, Sweden and Italy – accomplished artists such as Carina MacCana, John Kelly, Sylwia Migdal, Tetiana Milshyna, Julia Mitchell, Gary Swan, Christine Thery and Christina Todesco-Kelly will join.
Representing the performing arts will be musicians Nancy Long, concert harpist and Susan Nares, flautist and cellist.
Artist Christine Thery, who was born in Hong Kong and now lives near Heir Island is delighted to be participating in Culture Night. Speaking with Christine she thinks that: ‘The particular angle taken by Cnoc Buí Arts in giving artists from foreign shores a platform, is an opportunity for us to help local people understand what different attractions brought us all here. For me, it was a recognition in the landscape and the people of Heir Island, an unlikely connection with the rural islands of Hong Kong I had lived on and loved, my first ever home. A real feeling of coming home in observing the scale and look of the surrounding sea and land and the resilience of self-sufficient people getting on with their lives and surviving.’
Under an overall title of Working Women, one of the paintings on show is Picking Winkles by Christine Thery and is of an island woman whose stance echoes that of her Chinese rice planting sister.