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Tír Sáile Residency Programme – selected artists

Tír Sáile Residency Programme – selected artists

Mayo County Council and Aras Inis Gluaire/Erris Arts Centre are delighted to announce the artists who have secured the three public art projects/residencies related to the redevelopment of the Tír Sáileinitiative in Erris, County Mayo.

Gareth Kennedy will be working in Carrowteige.  Noah Rose and Selma Makela will work together in Belmullet and Joanna Hopkins wil be based at Claggan Island. At the same time Dorothy Cross will also be working on a research project in the area during the Summer and it is hoped a significant new commission will be realised following on from this in the future.

This is an exciting opportunity for the artists to work with the communities and revisit some of the Tír Sáile sculpture trail sites with new artistic vision and approaches to contemporary public art practice.

The original trail was developed nearly 25 years ago and is currently undergoing a thorough maintenance programme including repairs, new signage and a new website, to be launched alongside the residency programme outcomes.


Gareth Kennedy is interested in how to connect centralised archival and museological collections of material with the lived reality of life in Erris in the early 21st century. He asks how can materials, recovered from landscapes and meticulously catalogued and stored in national collections, be enacted, rearticulated, or translated with regard to the present hopes, fears, dreams, anxieties and potentials of people in Erris? How can these material cultures of inhabitants past, be resonantly performed in the present, with respect and anticipation for the future?

Working in collaboration and close association as a community of interest, his intention is to develop a compelling and experimental material culture on location, and then to ceremonially bury it, thus engaging the bogs chemistry and it's uncanny ability to hold things in stasis in time. This will be a publicly staged and reverse engineered experimental archaeological dig.


Noah Rose and Selma Makela’s project investigates what legacy we could leave for future generations and considers how we could possibly communicate across a distance of 5000 years by exploring the concept of a metaphorical time capsule. Rather than using or leaving behind a literal time capsule, they are considering the notion that perhaps a song or poem could survive to communicate something of our values and to consider what  'intangible treasure' could be transmitted to future generations living in Erris. 

The artists will draw from mythological, historical and archeological archival sources, as well as contemporary knowledge and understanding of the area.  Through their own explorations and through working with community members, they intend to develop a performative event and installation, to transmit the song to oral and visual memory. This will include a series of light works across the Mullet peninsula and text based installations, in a hidden trail across Belmullet town.

The artists refer back to the 25-year timeframe of the original Tír Sáile sculpture trail, and also the 5000-year timeframe of the Mayo 5000 initiative which inspired it.

They are interested in comparing these two distinct timeframes: what would we say to people 25 years in the future - and what about those 5000 years in the future?

Sharing links with Gareth’s concept they are also interested in the idea of ceremonial burying of treasure and associated clues that live down centuries and millennia.


Joanna Hopkins is focusing on the Marram grass growing on the sand dunes. This was planted to aid the slowing of coastal erosion all along Claggan island. She will develop an art project using paper making workshops, film and sound recordings to explore the idea of the traditional Meitheal. In ‘Plants for a Future’, one of the many cultural uses of Marram grass, is a fibre obtained from the stems of Grass which is then used for making paper. Joanna will focus on the Marram Grass planting that occurred soon after and as a direct result of Claggan’s Island status, using it as a medium for art making, dialogue and connection.She will then use this material for a final interactive installation.

Marram Grass Planting Meitheals will be organized for both paper making and to continue with re enforcing the Island against coastal erosion. The resulting film and sound pieces will be comprised of the documented Meitheal Workshops, video and sound recording based on research and observations of the island, local peoples stories, memories and daily life on the Island.

A seminar including launch events for the residency outcomes will take place in September.  This will be at Áras Inis Gluaire/ Erris Arts Centre and will include presentations of the new artworks, possible tours of sites and guest speakers exploring the origins of the original trail, and current contemporary public art practice.  Dorothy Cross will also talk about her practice as part of this event.  Further details wil be available later on this Summer.


For further information please contactGaynor Seville, Public Art Co-ordinator,

Mayo County Council E: T: 094 904 7561

Posted: 10/05/2017
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