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Weather-proof art work in pole position in Clonakilty garden

June 6th, 2019 11:50 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Deirdre Harrington, (IWA service user), Sinéad Burke (IWA staff), Lorraine Marshall (art facilitator), Ian McDonagh (Cork County Council arts department) and Maggie Barrett (IWA service user) at the launch of the Totem Pole project.

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A NUMBER of striking colourful totem poles have taken up proud position in Clonakilty’s Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) garden. 

They were created through a partnership between TY students from the town’s Sacred Heart Secondary School and the users of the resource and outreach centre.

Funded by the County Council and facilitated by Lorraine Marshall, the project ran for 10 weeks every Wednesday and developed into a great hub of creativity.

‘The idea came together when we were researching cultures and how totem poles represent stories or important events,’ said Sinéad Burke of the Clonakilty branch of the IWA.

‘These stories are often portrayed through animals or birds and as the project naturally unfolded the symbols changed with the stories as they evolved. 

‘All those involved went to endless effort to find different materials that we could use to ensure the totem poles would be a permanent structure in the garden.’

Pipes, pots and plants, biscuit tins and  even yoga mats were tested to see were they weather proof and if they would withstand the West Cork winds. 

‘We would like to thank the TY students who played an integral role in the project and their amazing skills were put to great use throughout the project. A big thank you must go to Lorraine Marshall who believed in the project from the start and to Cork County Council Arts officer Ian McDonagh who also supported us and the project,’ added Sinéad.

The totem poles now stand proudly in the IWA Resource Centre garden for all involved in the project to look at and admire.

In September the TY students together with the IWA will be working again in partnership with service users and a poet/ spoken word facilitator. Their plan is to bring together some oral traditions and folklore that will be developed into a poem incorporating the groups’ contributions and will be filmed and screened in the local area.

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