HUMANITARIAN Bob Geldof is to close the world-famous famine exhibition in Uillinn, West Cork Arts Centre which has attracted more than than 16,000 people since it opened in the centre of Skibbereen in July.
The world’s largest collection of famine-related art, Coming Home: Art and The Great Hunger, is on loan from Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, and will be in Skibbereen until mid-October.
The exhibition will close on Saturday, October 13th with a special event at Skibbereen Town Hall, which will include musician and humanitarian Bob Geldof, art historian Katharine Crouan, artist Dorothy Cross and journalist Mick Foley. It will be hosted by former director of The Crawford Art Gallery in Cork, Peter Murray. There has been a marked increase in visitors to the West Cork Arts Centre from the US and elsewhere abroad, many of whom travelled specifically to see exhibition.
Some 50% of visitors mentioned it as the main reason they had travelled to West Cork, with a high proportion of families and older people making the trip to see it in situ in Skibbereen.
Local businesses have seen an uplift coinciding with the exhibition.
On one of the busiest days, Uillinn hosted over 800 people.
A quick look at the visitor book shows how unique an experience it has been with comments like: ‘Our family is in West Cork for a week and this has been the highlight of our visit’ and ‘a wonderfully presented and curated work: would hope to return for future exhibitions.’
It was seen by more than 60,000 in Dublin Castle, opened in Uillinn in July and will next move to The Glassworks in Derry where it will open early next year.
Ryan Mahoney, director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac, said that they were ‘honoured to have brought Coming Home: Art and The Great Hunger to Skibbereen.’
He added: ‘It has always been the goal of Quinnipiac University to bring the collection back to Ireland. To include Skibbereen on the tour, an area that is synonymous with the Great Hunger, was important to all involved with this project.’
More information can be found at westcorkartscentre.com and artandthegreathunger.org