A magnificent Irish Elk, a wooden arch, a spiralling path and neutralising materials have been added to Donegal’s Fort Dunree this month as part of a captivating art exhibition.
These Artlink installations take place at the scenic military site as part of the Turas | Journey exhibition for the Earagail Arts Festival.
Visitors can take a creative journey among the displays for free from Thursday 1st July – Monday 2nd August.
Julie Griffiths, Sue Morris, Noel Brady, Brendan Farren, Kevin Harkin, Catherine Ellis and Kate McSharry have all created work for the exhibition as part of Begin The Begin. The artists were inspired by the concept of Turas – a term meaning pilgrimage or journey – which was chosen to form part of the Colmcille 1500 celebrations marking the legacy of St Colmcille.
The attractions have been added to old military buildings and out in the open. Visitors will encounter sculptures along the pathways, installations on platforms and inside pill boxes, and in some cases invitations to interact with the works.
Morris’ work at Fort Dunree is a site-responsive installation located in one of the pillboxes, or lookout posts, perched on the headland looking out to the Atlantic. The work is a gentle intervention; its intent is to dis-arm or neutralize the building of its original usage and make it a space of contemplation: transparent layers, with suggestions of landscape, pull the viewer into and through the space, towards the sea.
Brendan Farren will create a wooden arch. Each journey begins with that first intentional step, crossing the threshold between the ordinary and the sacred, and this arch will define and delineate this beginning, your first step into the other.
Catherine Ellis’ piece explores departure. Looking out at the calm waters of Lough Swilly it’s difficult to imagine that the waves can be as high as houses out in the open sea. It takes resilience and fearlessness to put out to sea, more so in a less than seaworthy vessel. This work is inspired by anyone who has had to take that journey, now or in the past.
Julie Griffiths will produce a spiralling path by walking it repeatedly, over the time of the exhibition, as an invitation to others to follow. This path will dissolve back into the landscape after the exhibition ends. It will be accompanied by drawings and documentation.
Kate McSharry’s concrete sculptures are accompanied by audio that encourages the viewer to take time and listen. Still standing, Standing still invites the audience to establish a collective context. Art is a universal language and also a unique experience as our interpretations are affected by knowledge and environment. Take this time to pause; feel the ground beneath.
Kevin Harkin decided to build his own corrugated lookout tower in the form of a mobile Irish Elk, ready for battle at these same borders to defend our right to move freely like deer. This Irish Elk has been on standby in his yard in Derry for the past 2 years ready for charge to protect free movement. Now it will stand proudly at Fort Dunree.
Noel Brady’s sculptures are an active participatory installation; vessels for gathering, which echo the form of wicker baskets and creels, shaped in part like ballistic shells. Visitors are encouraged to carry with them a stone (preferably white) to locate in the container.