The Higher Bridges Gallery at The Clinton Centre during April will host an exhibition of new etchings (prints) by Visual Artist Ivan Armstrong. Ivan is very well known to community based organisations throughout Fermanagh for his work in promoting the arts as the Community Arts Officer of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, prior to his retirement.
What may be less well known is that his roots are in Kinawley, a fact only known to him a few years ago when he unearthed some old family records. In fact he still has a distant relation, through marriage still living in the county.
Ivan says, "I had no idea why I was always happy in Fermanagh and put it down to the balance between land and water but when I mentioned this to my mother she managed to find Birth certificates and Marriage certificates which show that
my grandfather was born in Kinawley". Ivan's exhibition entitled "West " is a series of works involving the history and memories of the West of Ireland.
This series of etchings is about location and history 'To Hell or Connaught' is a phrase, which has survived over time as the definitive description of a land where a living has been hard won for many generations. Deprivation, emigration and starvation along with the local entertainment based on faction fighting are replaced by tourism, the EU subsidy cheque and the townland football match. Nevertheless, a dig beneath the surface or a deviation from the network of principal roads can show traces of the past.
This exhibition is an unashamed celebration of “big sky country” and the remembrances of being there which are contained in the vessels of home, the furniture of contemporary urban life, which as if by magic can contain glimpses of Maumeen, Laragh, Thallabaun and Carrowniskey. A darker side is never far away though. Around the time when my grandfather was born, landlords cleared vast areas to make way for sheep and hundreds of families were evicted from their homes. This coupled with the depredations of famine has left an indelible stain .The exhibition consists of viscosity etchings and single colour photo intaglio etchings all in short editions of no more than eight. Ivan Armstrong’s solo exhibition opened Friday 3rd April in The Higher Bridges Gallery at The Clinton Centre, Enniskillen. The exhibition continues to 29th April.
Gallery Opening hours Mon – Fri 10am - 5pm / Sat 10am - 4pm.
Further details available from:
Diane Henshaw, Arts Officer for Fermanagh District Council
T: 028 6632 5050 / [email protected]