WEST Cork artist June Fairhead has been inspired by a wonderfully colourful caravan that has become almost as much part of Kinsale as the harbour.
June is attempting to crowd-fund a project entitled ‘Showman’, dedicated to Kinsale’s Bill Piper, who owns the funfair in the town.
Piper’s Funfair has scarcely changed in 40 years, giving it an old-world feel – epitomised by Bill’s famous old wooden caravan – which June is trying to capture. Already, she has gathered photos and stories of the funfair and hopes that a nostalgic public can held to fund a book and an exhibition.
June first got interested in the project through pure curiosity. Every day during the winter months she would pass the wooden caravan parked in the town square, and wondered who lived in it. Then during the summer months she saw it moved up to the fair. Her curiosity grew until she felt compelled to ask Bill Piper if she could make a project about him.
He told her all about growing up as a showman, about many of the artefacts collected, and traditions that go with the job.
All this is engagingly documented and illustrated with photographs taken both inside the caravan and outside in the fairground, from morning until nightfall.
June’s target for the printing of her book is €4,000 and she is offering generous rewards for public investments, which can be made at www.fundit.ie/project/showman. ‘This is a project I am passionate about, June says, ‘I wanted to document Bill Piper in his curious caravan at the fair, not just as an art project, but as a part of social history. I love the ambience and colour and it reminds me of the fairs that used to exist all over Ireland in my childhood.’
June’s blog is at www.junefairhead.com.