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Exhibition on famine art ‘comes home' to Skibbereen

July 31st, 2018 5:03 PM

By Southern Star Team

Niamh O'Sullivan, curator, Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, discusses aspects of the exhibition with RTE director general Dee Forbes. (Photo: Anne Minihane)

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THE world’s largest collection of Famine-related art, Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger, opened at the Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen last week, following a very successful residency at Dublin Castle earlier this year. 

On loan from Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University – its permanent home in Connecticut – the collection features selected artworks from 50 of Ireland’s most eminent artists, including Jack B Yeats, Robert Ballagh, Dorothy Cross and William Crozier. 

Drimoleague woman RTÉ director general, Dee Forbes, now resident in Glandore, officially launched the exhibition.

This unique exhibition is expected to resonate deeply with the people of Skibbereen and the surrounding countryside, given the area’s devastation during the famine years. 

‘Skibbereen was the epicentre of the famine,’ explained Uillinn director Ann Davoren. ‘Therefore it is significant that these artworks will be housed at Uillinn this summer. We are very proud to host this exhibition, as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the people of Cork and visitors to the region to experience this art collection in Skibbereen,’ she said. 

The centre is collaborating with six cultural partners based out of West Cork all summer long, as part of the Coming Home programme, to host daily tours, musical performances, education workshops, talks and discussions.

 ‘The scale of suffering and loss of The Great Hunger almost defies representation,’ said Dee Forbes. ‘And yet this remarkable exhibition is a reminder of the unique and precious role that artists of all kinds play, in enabling us to transcend that which seemed beyond our understanding. To host this fantastic exhibition in Skibbereen is a profoundly full-circle moment.  Those who were lost, sacrificed, and abandoned, are remembered and honoured amongst us in Coming Home.’

Ireland’s Great Hunger museum director, Ryan Mahoney said that Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum was honoured to bring the exhibition to Skibbereen. 

‘It has always been a goal of Quinnipiac University, and the museum’s, to bring this collection back to Ireland.  To include Skibbereen on the tour, an area that is synonymous with the Great Hunger, was important to all that are involved with this project,’ he said. 

The exhibition is part of a rich programme of cultural events, which kicked off on July 20th and running until October 13th. Admission to the exhibition is free.  

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