Looking For The Light Within

Oileán Chléire

Aedín Cosgrove / Ón gclais go dtí an grua   

John Magennis / As Seo go dTí Ansúid 

Róisín Ní Chonaill / Dub, Dother, Dain

Collective Work / Bunús

Aisling Brennan /  Tírdhreach Inmheánach

Danny Stewart /The Tide of Uncertainty

Catherine Ryan / Collective work, involvement in the project

Looking For The Light Within,
Skibbereen part

Patricia Osullivan, Claire Lalor, Donal O’Connor, Tomasz Madajczak, Kathryn, Rosie, Gydiminis, Norman

A reflection by project facilitator and artist Tomasz Madajczak

The research created an insight into the possibility of opening an artistic dialogue between multiple communities of West Cork, based on the mainland, Cape Clear and Sherkin Island.

It took about 8 months of sea journeys, weekly workshops, conversations, walks and artistic explorations to develop the possibility of confronting and working with those multiple communities.

I started meeting with individuals on Cape Clear, to learn about the community and to see if there is a space to initiate an artistic dialogue. It took quite a few visits to Cape Clear to observe and realise the pace which stimulates actions on the island. It is very strongly connected with the ways the community operates, the bonds between different members and the nature of relationships between the people and the land. The distance from the mainland is adding a significant element to the way people operate on an island (which can be translated into the frequency and speed of the boats communicating with the mainland).

Every place, community, and landscape have got their unique rhythm and dynamic for processing the changes which emerge. When we live somewhere long enough we get used to the ways everything evolves around us. Eventually, we accept it as the natural rhythm. When the environment changes we realise that the tempo of interactions changes along with everything else. The speed of life of an island community and its dynamic is very different to the one which can be experienced on the mainland.

I learned not to expect people to follow the same rules as on the mainland, instead, I decided to learn about the ways of the island and adjust to what I experience and see as a creative, alive potential there. People are very grateful for the support, although sometimes it takes a very long time to open up a significant, deep creative dialogue. That possibility comes with trust and with understanding of the intentions, of the stranger (me – in this instance).

From time to time I was awakened to a strong recognition of a need to navigate situations towards resolution and culmination. Those realisations influenced me, to make decisions about working towards deadlines which would allow for the community to experience the significance of their art practice and the importance of sharing it with the rest of the community.

I started to work with individuals from the community to develop a very particular insight into artistic processes which they chose to develop individually. It took us months of meetings and discussions until some people decided to take on a project, or an artwork realisation which allowed them to focus and share their perception about themselves, the language, the island and their particular experiences as members of the Cape Clear community.

After the initial two months of visits to Cape Clear Island, I started parallel weekly meetings in Skibbereen called “Looking for the Light Within”. The people who I connected with in Skibbereen are from the mainland. They are form a very different community than the one on the island. I realised a fascinating fact, the people from the mainland focused on the idea of working together collaboratively, as a community, whereas the people from Cape Clear looked at individuality and decided to work on their projects (working separately, to be able to come together and contrast their works at the end).

A few months later I was invited to Cape Clear to facilitate several art workshops for the community. Since the community decided to work individually I encouraged work on individual projects, discussing in depth their direction and individual character. The community of the Irish-speaking island decided to look into the language and its importance for each individual in the diversity of the community.

After several months, a couple of projects emerged and I felt that the best way to respect the creative processes would be to make a small exhibition on the island. I spoke to Ann Daveron the director of the Uillinn West Cork Art Centre and it turned out that the exhibition from Cape Clear can be moved to the Uillinn West Cork Art Centre. That created additional motivation for the members of the community and solidified the preparations for the exhibition on the island. In the meantime, I applied for some additional funding from the Creative Places West Cork initiative and I obtained additional funds to produce a small exhibition and to allow for free transport for people to move between the mainland and the islands.

The exhibition took place on the 5th of May on Cape Clear and was re-installed, and re-opened on the mainland at the Uillinn West Cork Art Centre on the 10th of June.

Thanks to the generous funding from the Creative Places West Cork, the community from Cape Clear and the community from the West Cork Mainland were able to meet and experience sharing their work. Both events were amazing. They created a great sense of creative achievement and opened a space for discoveries and further artistic explorations both on Cape Clear and on the Main Land.

It was a great creative journey which will continue. I’m looking forward to experiencing what will be the further steps of those shared artistic processes.