MAURICE Henderson Fry was one of the wave of young UK artists who swept into West Cork in the late 1960s and early ’70s.
He settled in Allihies, Beara, rearing his son Orion and establishing himself as a painter, taking inspiration from the landscape and those who worked in it, as well as from the sea and sky.
Maurice had a long association with Beara Arts Festival, showing his work at each of its annual exhibitions, up to and including the 25th Anniversary Artists in Beara exhibition last August.
Maurice, who had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, passed away suddenly just a few weeks later, leaving a collection of work he had been preparing for a solo show.
‘We decided to put this group of paintings at the heart of this year’s festival,’ said Beara Arts Festival director Marc O’Sullivan Vallig. ‘Each year, we host a substantial exhibition of art, and Maurice was the obvious choice for the 2018 programme; he was such an important part of the community in Beara for more than forty years. Our only regret is that we didn’t get around to organising a retrospective of Maurice’s work while he was still with us.’
The exhibition, Maurice Henderson Fry: Paintings, will be opened by the artist’s son, Orion Henderson, at the Beara Coast Hotel, Castletownbere at 2pm this Saturday August 4th, and will run until August 12th.
Included will be paintings Maurice had recently completed at the time of his passing, as well as others borrowed from friends and collectors to give a thorough overview of his accomplishments as an artist – floral studies, landscapes, abstract and figurative paintings. Many featured the landscapes and people of the Beara peninsula, while others reflected on his travels, particularly in Turkey.
Maurice’s sister, Beverley Fry, and her daughter, Anna Selby, will be guests at the opening. Anna is also the Poet in Residence this year.
The festival will this year present the first screening in Beara of the 1995 film Moondance. Starring 1960s folk legend Marianne Faithfull, along with Rúaidhrí Conroy, Ian Shaw and Julia Brendler, it was mostly shot around the Beara peninsula.
The Moondance screening, at St Peter’s Church, Castletownbere at 8pm, Thursday August 8th, is free, with donations to the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, in memory of Maurice Henderson Fry.
The festival is sponsored by Cork County Council and the Municipal District Community Fund.
For more see bearaartsfestival.com