Limerick City Gallery of Art reopens with two exhibitions

Limerick City Gallery of Art (LCGA)has officially reopened after 18 months and a €1.7m refurbishment.
Minister for fun, Jimmy Deenihan,did the ribbon cutting yesterday (January 16). I was going to go but then Iremembered that I don’t like art exhibition openings. D’oh! I did, however,have a look around today and the Carnegie Building looked beautiful—inside andout. 
The works include the addition of a new wing and a café space looking onto People’s Park. The expansive windows give the gallery a light and airy feel.I also noticed new bathroom facilities; general modernisation/fixtures and newsignage with a revamped logo. Behind the scenes, there is an educational spaceand a purpose built storage facility to ensure the collection if preserved. The work respected or restored a lot of the amazing period features of the building too.  
The entrance with the new signage.
The building dates back to 1906 andit was a library and museum before it became a home to the city’s municipal artcollection in 1948. The permanent collection now has 800 pieces. The ministersaid LCGA was “one of the key galleries in the country” and play a part in Limerick’smarketing as a city of culture, as well as sport.


There are also changes at the helm.New director/curator, Helen Carey, will be taking over from actingdirector/curator, Pippa Little. Ms Carey was formerly director of the CentreCulturel Irlandais in Paris. The opening also saw the launchof two exhibitions—both of which will run until early March—in the form of AVivid Imagination and Transitive Relationships (more on them below). There was a large range of artwork on display in a mix of media including paintings, video, photography, sculpture and performance art.


It’s lovely to see the gallery openagain and hopefully its visitor numbers will on the up. For all you Limerick people, when was the last time youwent to LCGA, if ever? It’s free AND now there’s a café, that’s the perfectexcuse to go. I took a few snaps today too. I didn’t take the names in mostcases; the photos are only intended to give an idea of the artwork and thespaces.   

The new wing extension 
A Vivid Imagination is where 40 people were invited to select engagingpieces from the gallery’s collection. Most of the selections are accompanied byexplanatory notes by the likes of artist John Shinnors, Minister JanO’Sullivan; several LCGA MA scholars; city librarian, Dolores Doyle etc. It’san eclectic exhibition which makes a vital local connection. There was atremendous sense of ownership from the pieces chosen.

The main exhibition space for A Vivid Imagination. The gorgeous floor and doors really add character.
Limerick, you’re a lady. Local icons- opera singer, Catherine Hayes, after whom the infamous ‘Opera Centre’ is named and ground-breaking novelist, Kate O’Brien.
Bronze sculpture with her hack to People’s Park.
Another unusual piece, highlighted by the spotlight in the new wing.
Transitive Relationships (upstairs) is a contemporary exhibition where nationallyestablished artists, Bea McMahon and Mark O’Kelly, were invited to presenttheir own work and choose the work of three emerging artists. These artistsare: Lucy Andrews, Kevin Kirwan and Magda Marysia Wieckiewicz and Ramon Kassam,Emmet Kierans and Laura McMorrow. The description reads: “Further relationshipshave emerged between the artworks, with threads of interest involvingabjection, sinister undertones and materials poised on a moment of change and aprocess based interest in gathering, saving and selecting implied in some ofthe artworks. Transitive Relationships considers the artists’ engagement withthe surrounding world and the notion that these interactions and process basedinvestigations have a universal element.In mathematics the term notates aseries of equivalent relationships.”

An example of one of the mixed media pieces in the show.
This was probably my favourite piece of what I saw at LCGA today. It’s called ‘The same thing, again and again’ by Emmett Kierans. It’s placed for maximum impact, facing you across the balcony as you walk onto the first floor. It’s cool. I loved the colours and the contrast between the materials-wax on brushed metal. Along with Ramon Kassam’s work, Kierans had some of the stand-out pieces in the exhibition.
The largest exhibition space upstairs with lovely light coming from all the windows.
There is a definite shift from the traditional with the content in this exhibition. No, this ISN’T a hoodie a workman left hanging on a rad; it’s contemporary art. Several other works in this room flummoxed me too. Maybe I’m just a philistine after all…

MA-Curatorial Studies Shinnors Scholarship/StudentZINE Makers award

Shinnors Scholarship
Applications are being invited for the prestigious MA-CuratorialStudies Shinnors Scholarship at the Limerick City Gallery of Art. Applications can be made to LCGA, Limerick City Council,Limerick School ofArt and Design and Limerick Institute of Technology.
The scholarship isa “unique opportunity for practice based research with Limerick City Gallery ofArt, a leading Irish institution for the curation and celebration of artisticcreativity, past, present and future. The Shinnors Scholarship model has runsuccessfully at Limerick City Gallery of Art for over six years”.
The successfulapplicant will undertake an MA by Research at Limerick School of Art and Designover a two-year period and be based predominantly at LCGA. It provides opportunitieson a day-to-day basis to study and engage with all aspects of the city gallery’score activities including the exhibition programme, the permanent collection,the outreach and education programme. The culmination ofthe scholarship provides for the submission by the student of an MA thesisbased on the development of some aspect of the gallery’s programme by thestudent as a personal project.
Award deadline
The next deadline for theOnline MAKERS Award is November 30. Interested parties can log-on/create anaccount at and upload your latestwork to the platform to be in with the opportunity of being the next recipientof the MAKERS Award along with getting a full feature in the next issuealongside some leading international artists. :)

Limk City Gallery of Art re-opens with ‘of de Blacam and Meagher’ exhibition

The first exhibition toshow in the newly refurbished Limerick City Gallery of Art will be of De Blacamand Meagher, which opens today (Thursday) Nov 17 at 7pm.
Commissioned by the IrishArchitecture Foundation, the exhibition represented Ireland at the 12th International ArchitectureExhibition 2010 in Veniceand it will be opened by Merritt Bucholz, Professor of Architecture at UL. Ireland’sparticipation at Venice,and the exhibition’s return to Ireland for this national tour, is aninitiative of Culture Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council.This is the last venue in the national tour of Ormeau Baths Gallery in Belfast,Lewis Glucksman Gallery in Cork and Dublin City Gallery: The HughLane.
of de Blacam and Meagher examinesthe built and un-built portfolio of the Irish architecture practice, de Blacamand Meagher, over the last 33 years. It was curated by Tom dePaor, PeterMaybury, Alice Casey and Cian Deegan, and commissioned for the VeniceArchitecture Biennale in 2010. The exhibition takes the form of a book unbound,containing volumes of drawings and photographic reproductions from the archive,contemporary photography and readings of the works with commentaries.
The blurb reads: “As both archive and reading room,the space is furnished with items from the de Blacam and Meagher archive.Members of the public are invited to read the work and take it away. Over time,the stacks of paper are depleted, until finally we are left with only thefurnishings. The archive will, in essence, be consumed. Two short films by RuánMagan, one about the installation in Venice,and the other with interviews from the commissioner and curators, will also bedisplayed during the exhibition.”
The new opening hours are Mon-Wed, 10am-5pm; Thurs-Fri, 10am-7pm; Sat, 10am-5pmand Sun, 12-5pm. For information onthe talks programme see and is now on Twitter:  @limerickgallery.

How Capital Moves exhibition by Kennedy Browne at LCGA

I went down to see the new exhibition at LCGA, How Capital Moves, by the artist team Gareth Kennedy and Sarah Browne yesterday. It was really impressive…and I’m notoriously hard to please (insert own ‘That’s what she said’ joke >here<). The exhibition’s main subject is the closure of Dell Computers’ manufacturing plant in Limerick and its de-facto relocation to Łódź in Poland. Dell isn’t mentioned by name but “The Company” of the piece is easily identifiable as the computer giant. The pseudonym also makes it about an experience rather than a specific example and adds an Orwellian 1984 edge to it. That sinister feeling comes up occasionally in the descriptions of closeted meetings, the new fence, empty offices and confidentiality contracts.

The exhibition has several elements including images of redundancy at a Dell call-centre in Oregon and boarding passes for flights from Shannon to Łódź. The main event is a video installation featuring six personalised monologues. These are based on real accounts in online forums but also with some artistic licence. As the blurb emphasises “Kennedy Browne wishes to reaffirm How Capital Moves as a composite of both fictional and non-fictional elements. However, all significant events that are referenced in this work did in fact take place”.

All the workers played by the same actor, speak in Polish (with English subtitles) and are dressed in pyjamas that reflect their personality. Why the pjs? It was Pajama Day in Oregon when 200 employees were let go. It allows you to imagine the humiliation of being fired while possibly dressed in a bunny rabbit onesie during what is meant to be a fun, team-building exercise. Ouch!

All six react differently to the news and the mixture of emotions is what makes it all so compelling. The actor is the everyman and is channelling the fear, disappointment, rage, relief, ambivalence, acceptance etc of those made redundant. They also talk about their jobs; the revelations about call centres are particularly interesting.

Many issues such as the effects of rumours/speculation/media reports, the ruthless nature of corporate policy as well as the workers’ uncertainty about the future and what to do next are touched upon.

It was originally commissioned for the Łódź Biennale in Poland but I’m glad it came to Limerick. It’s still a topical (and touchy) subject in Limerick two years on. At least 1,900 people lost their jobs—dragging up memories of the closure of local factories by multinationals like Krups (closed 1998; 500 jobs) and Ferenka (closed 1977; 1,400 jobs). And those examples further reinforce the concept of how capital moves, which is a worrying trend for the Irish economy-dependent as it is on an export-driven recovery.

Speaking as someone who was recently made redundant, it’s a pretty accurate look inside the process from both a personal and practical point of view. It links common experiences from all over the world. How Capital Moves is a considered, carefully executed artistic response to real universal concerns. Hallelujah!

The exhibition was curated by Annette Moloney. It runs until May 6 in Istabraq Hall, City Hall, Merchants Quay, Limerick. Hours are 9.30am-5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Further information on LCGA website or

A Limerick Minute community film project

I went to see the premiere of A Limerick Minute at the Belltable Arts Centre today (March 22), which is a series of short films produced by people in communities around the city.

Throughout 2010 Christina Gangos—a documentary filmmaker of some note—taught and mentored learners from local adult education centres in the art of observational documentary.
The participants “started from zero”, took part in some technical workshops and then used the equipment to express their unique viewpoints. The outcome is five short films aiming to present “diverse approaches of exploring Limerick through a camera lens”. The common thread through all the stories is expressing “the beauty of the ordinary and the everyday”.

Frank O’Connor made two shorts including one with a craftsman at work with a local radio station on in the background and one of woods with atmospheric sounds.
Margaret Fitzgerald’s film touched on a very emotive issue. She highlighted that 20 people are missing in the River Shannon and filmed a search crew going about their work.
Gerard Kelly was seemingly the rebel of the group but Ms Gangos praised him for showing how breaking ‘the rules’ of this type of filmmaking can pay off. His film used the “camera as microscope” on the hive of activity that is Limerick Docks.
Donnacha Barry, a keen photographer, made a film about the vibrant Milk Market. In it, Tom, the busker who plays the accordion around town(a real local character), plays while a shopper sings along.

Ms Gangos paid tribute to the participants for taking on a challenge and overcoming obstacles to achieve their goals, which is the whole point of adult learning. She said she and the filmmakers had a lot of support and the films were also about communities in areas often “marginalised by the media”.

All the films were interesting snapshots of Limerick life, whether denotative or abstract. A minute or two is a very short time in which to capture the essence of something so the novice filmmakers did very well. The project was a great way of engaging and including ordinary people in the arts.

The project was facilitated through the Artist in the Community Scheme—delivered by CREATE and the Arts Council. Áine Lyne (LCEN) approached Ms Gangos to do the project and Susan Holland made sure the films would be seen as widely as possible. It was supported by: Limerick Community Education Network (LCEN), City of Limerick VEC Adult Education Service, Cork Film Centre, Limerick City Gallery, Daghdha Dance Company, Belltable Arts Centre, Omniplex Cinemas and IFCO.

The films are coming to a cinema near you! They’re due to screen at mainstream cinemas before scheduled films in Limerick and across Ireland. Locally, they will also be screened before films shown in the Belltable Film Club and in the foyer of the Limerick City Gallery of Art and the Occupy Space on Thomas Street.