The artists that featured in the ‘BYAP 30 Years’ exhibition all have strong links to Ballymun. Most of them live and work in the area, and many are members of the Forum for the Arts in Ballymun. In addition to the established artists whose work featured in the exhibition (see below for further details), art and crafts produced by BYAP clients over the past 30 years were also on display.
Rita Cahill is a freelance photographer, who works closely with a variety of community-based organisations and initiatives in Ballymun, including The Reco, Trinity Comprehensive, Youthreach, the Halloween Festival and Dublin City Council.
Photography has been a lifetime passion for Rita: she began documenting community life in Ballymun when she moved to the area aged 15 and received a present of a camera. Much of her work was inspired by the iconic Ballymun Towers: she captured numerous photos from the window of her own home in Pearse Tower down through the years.
Rita’s work in this exhibition includes ‘The Colour of My Home’, a mixed media piece using watercolours, oils and nail varnish, inspired by a night-time view of the James Connolly Tower. According to Rita, when she saw this view she didn’t have her camera to hand, so she ‘took a photograph in my head’ and later transferred this image to canvas.
The photographs of Rita’s included in this exhibition showed the demolition of Ceannt Tower and the construction of the axis arts centre at the civic grounds in Ballymun, both brought about as a result of the Ballymun regeneration project, which began in the late 1990s.
Bob Dixon is a Dublin-based freelance photographer, who has worked on the Irish music scene for the past 10 years. During this time, he has built up an impressive portfolio featuring a huge array of Irish and international musicians.
Bob’s photography has been used as artwork for live music DVDs, albums and for promotional use for various gigs around the country. He has also documented festivals such as Oxegen, Electric Picnic, the Festival of World Cultures, Slane for Hotpress magazine and The Ruby Sessions Anniversary gigs in 2010.
Bob’s spectacular panoramic work includes images, places and stories from cities all over the world, including New York, Melbourne, Singapore, Poland, Austria and Paris, and from music venues, historic buildings and corporate and government buildings in and around Dublin city. He has showcased his work in various exhibitions throughout Ireland and has taken part in a group exhibition in Belgium. His most recent projects include being part of a collaborative work with artist John Duffy and musician Q in association with the Blue Leaf Gallery: this particular project looks set to be exhibited in New York along with the ‘Wildly Different Things’ exhibition.
In November 2010, a charity calendar featuring Bob’s worldwide travel photography was launched in association with GIVE Volunteering. Some of the proceeds from the sale of this calendar go to Barretstown, a charity that helps children affected by serious illness. Bob is also currently working on a book featuring portraits of influential musicians from all over the world, which will be sold in aid of Barretstown.
Further information: www.bobdixonphotography.com.
Originally from Fife, on the east coast of Scotland, Stewart Dowie first came to Ballymun through the local Youth Service as a Youth Arts Project Worker. Since 1996, he has worked principally as a teacher in the Youthreach second chance education programme, although he continues to work as a neighbourhood arts worker when the opportunity arises, and is a contributor to the BRYR (Ballymun Regional Youth Resource) Street Art Programme.
Creatively, he admits to being a failed sculptor and is best known as a printmaker, muralist and carnival ‘builder’.
Mick Geraghty is from Terenure originally, but moved to Dublin’s Northside in the 1970s and has lived in the vicinity of Ballymun ever since. As a painter, he is largely self-taught: he has been dabbling in art since he was three years old and is currently a member of the Forum for the Arts in Ballymun.
Mick describes himself as a ‘spiritual painter’ – he takes his inspiration from within, and likes to paint a wide variety of subjects: ‘I get bored if I paint one thing all the time,’ he says. The painting that was included in this exhibition was a self-portrait, painted in the early 1970s, around the time Mick moved to live in the vicinity of Ballymun. It was painted from Mick’s memory of his own image, rather than the more conventional technique of using a mirror to capture his self portrait.
Fiona Ginnell is a sculptor and art teacher living and working in Dublin. She currently works as an art tutor for Youthreach in Ballymun. Since graduating from Dun Laoghaire School of Art in 1995, she has been practicing sculpture with an emphasis on small-scale bronzes. Her work is often concerned with issues of female sexuality and the abject.
Exhibitions in which Fiona has participated include: ‘Umha Aois’, Bronze Casting Symposium, Inis Oirr, 2007; ‘Sculpture in Context’, National Botanic Gardens, 2006; Goethe Institut ‘Inter Nationes’, Dublin, 2003; ‘EV+A’, Limerick City Gallery of Art, 2001; ‘Women on Waves’, on board ship, Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin, 2000; ‘Umha Aois’, Experimental Bronze Casting Symposium, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Co. Down, 1999; Signal Arts Centre, Co. Wicklow; and ‘Emerging Artists’, Mansion House, Dublin, 1995.
‘Mouse Nipple’ – Fiona’s sculpture for the ‘BYAP 30 Years’ exhibition – was a small bronze of a computer mouse with a cast of a nipple attached. The idea for the piece arose from how an art work was perceived in an office environment: the nipple cast was displayed by a male acquaintance of Fiona’s in his office environment, and resulted in much joking and innuendo amongst the workers. As a result, Fiona decided it was worth producing another piece which they could all identify with and touch while they worked. In this sculpture, a computer mouse – a familiar and everyday object – and a nipple – a female body part, functional and sexual – are juxtaposed to create this new form. The notion of clicking to look at porn or to get erotic pleasure at the touch of a mouse is also evoked.
Patrick Kavangh is a founding member of the Forum for the Arts in Ballymun and the Artists’ Association for Ballymun. As an artist, his preference is for working as a sculptor.
Patrick’s piece for the ‘BYAP 30 Years’ exhibition – ‘Celtic Flight’ – was created in 1997. Its swirling pattern was inspired by tile designs at the Alhambra, a Moorish palace and fortress built during the 14th Century in Granada in Spain. The Alhambra was designed to reflect the very beauty of Paradise itself, and is now one of Spain’s major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country’s most significant and best-known Islamic architecture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the inspiration for many songs, stories and pieces of art.
The pattern used by Patrick Kavanagh for this work is based on a three-sided design, which remains the same no matter from what angle it is viewed. The swirling pattern can be linked together ad infinitum and, according to Patrick, this symbolises the community in Ballymun; the original gathering force, with the swirls evoking the Celtic ‘whirl of creation’. The three sides of the design represent the infinity of looking back, looking forward and looking at where we are now.
Cecilia Moore graduated in silversmithing from Birmingham Polytechnic, and went on to study sculpture and printmaking. She has lived in Ballymun for over 25 years, and works fulltime as an artist, focusing mostly on three-dimensional sculptural work. She has completed several public art commissions, and has exhibited in numerous group, selected and solo shows.
For the ‘BYAP 30 Years’ exhibition, Cecilia submitted ‘Flight’, a porcelain sculpture, evoking the quills of birds’ feathers and broken egg-shells (the broken shells were created by deliberately exploding porcelain eggs in the kiln). A watercolour map was painted on the broken shells.
According to Cecilia, this piece is about the choice between ‘whether to stay or whether to go’; the feather part of the quills has been left off, symbolising a lack of ability to fly. The piece also reflects the theme of ‘place’.
A full CV of Cecilia’s work is avaliable at Cecilia’s Website.
Maria Place is a Ballymun resident involved in many creative initiatives, who ‘likes to explore and develop the artistic potential in the human life’.
She recently had her first three-dimensional installation in axis Ballymun, exhibited to complement a series of talks on ‘The Self, Dreams and the Conscious Environment’, which attracted interest from all over the city and across many disciplines. For this project, Maria aimed to bring an awareness of our dreaming mind into the everyday, conscious environment by installing a selection of dream-inspired art pieces.
The works included in this exhibition were pencil studies produced by Maria between the years 2000 and 2002.
Edith Poole is a local artist, who has lived in Ballymun for over 30 years. She was one of the first artists to exhibit in axis Ballymun when it opened in 2001. She has also exhibited in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin’s city centre in the past.
Edith’s key skills as an artist include watercolours, oils, batik and painting on silk. Although largely self-taught, she has completed various courses in art over the years, including studying batik at the Grennan Mill Craft School in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. She has worked as an art tutor in a number of different venues in Ballymun and around Dublin, and as a teaching assistant in the Art Department of Coláist Íde.
‘Joe’s Rhododendrons’ – included in the ‘BYAP 30 Years’ exhibition – was painted by Edith as a gift for a friend.
Frank Scalzo worked as a freelance photographer before returning to college to study for a BA in Photography at DIT. He has lived in Ballymun for 20 years, and is a member of the Forum for the Arts in Ballymun.
As an artist, Frank focuses mainly on photography, with a particular interest in social science: photographing people and capturing how they behave and how they live.
The image included in this exhibition was taken around 2008, when Frank was standing in a playground in Ballymun, observing what was happening around him.
Dean Scurry is a youth worker, video producer, community activist, arts facilitator, stand-up comedian and entrepreneur from Dublin. He is a founding member of The House of Fun Comedy Club and has been gigging regularly across Ireland and the UK since 2005. From 2001 to 2008, he co-managed the hip-hop rap crew ‘Urban Intelligence’.
Dean has been involved in the Ballymun community as a youth worker and activist for 20 years. As an arts facilitator, he has worked on a variety of projects with axis Ballymun, including Invent, The Music Ensemble and the hugely original HipNós. He is currently working in association with axis on a number of arts and music projects.
In addition to submitting ‘bloke’ for this exhibition, Dean was heavily involved in the public art project specially commissioned to mark the 30th anniversary of BYAP. Working closely with the artist John Duffy, Dean facilitated a number of workshops with BYAP clients, which ultimately led to the production of the large-scale artwork currently on display as part of ‘BYAP 30 Years’. Dean also served as one of the MCs for the community festival that took place as part of our 30th anniversary events.
Tom Shannon was born and brought up in the Liberties area of Dublin’s south-west inner city. As a teenager, he moved to London, where he served his time as an apprentice and worked as a house painter. He returned to Dublin in the late 1970s and lived in the flats in Ballymun until his death in recent years.
Tom’s work as a house painter influenced his art, giving him a strong insight into the technicalities of painting, mixing and colour. When he had no other materials available, he painted on bread boards and half-doors: this originally came about when a bread delivery van got stuck in ice and snow one day in Ballymun. Tom helped the driver move the van, using bread boards to give the wheels a grip. The driver subsequently drove away, leaving the boards behind, so Tom brought them home and began painting on them. Similarly, he gathered doors that were thrown out, cutting out the best pieces on which to paint.
There was a strong social commentary dimension to Tom’s work, with themes of poverty, disadvantage and injustice addressed in many of his paintings. Much of his work was created in the 1980s, during the early years of BYAP, when Ireland was in the grip of a severe recession. As such, it is once again highly relevant to the Ireland of today.
According to Paddy Kavanagh from the Forum for the Arts in Ballymun, Tom was ahead of his time in lots of ways, and the style he pioneered as an artist has been mirrored by many others in recent times.
The organisers would like to acknowledge the generosity of Patrick Kavanagh, who has lent these works to this exhibition.
Ray Sherlock is a caricaturist, whose watercolours depict historical and contemporary personalities from Ireland and further afield. He has lived in the vicinity of Ballymun all his life, and has always had an interest in portraiture.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Ray worked in cartoon animation in Dun Laoghaire, and his interest in caricature stems from this time. People began commissioning him to produce comical and satirical paintings; according to Ray, ‘there was a demand for it, and I’ve been working hard ever since’. He now has a permanent display of his work on the top floor of the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre in Dublin City Centre.
The caricatures in this exhibition depicted the renowned Irish folk band The Dubliners and the world-famous rock band U2, who have strong associations with Dublin’s Northside. ‘Ní Fheicimid a Leithéid Seo Arís’ depicted Irish political leaders of recent years. The title is Irish for ‘We shall not see their likes again’.
Born and raised in Dublin, Stano has been a vibrant presence in the creative world of music composition, performance art and painting in Dublin since the early ‘80’s. An incredibly prolific artist, he has released eight albums, created the score for many productions and taken part in numerous group and solo art exhibitions.
A self-taught artist, Stano works in oils on very strong and abstract themes. He creates highly individual and creative work that draws inspiration from the natural landscape and serves as a visual expression of the unusual arrangements and diversity of his music. He is greatly influenced by the natural history and traditional cultures of both Australia and New Zealand, and sees many similarities and parallels between them and Ireland. In interpreting the parallels and similarities between Celtic, Aboriginal and Maori culture, Stano has developed a unique technique in expressing this subject matter: he often uses layered imagery and repeated motifs to give depth and expression to his works.
Stano’s paintings have been praised for their intricate detail, complex technique and the use of vibrant colour.
His work can be found in private, corporate and public collections throughout Ireland including Government Offices, NTMA, Mason Hayes and Curran, Old Vic Theatre, London. Most recently he participated in the RHA annual exhibition.
Long Weng is originally from China, but has lived in Ballymun for the past 22 years, where he teaches painting to local groups. As an artist, his interest lies mainly in portraiture, using oils on canvas.
His submissions for this exhibition included a portrait of the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, who visited BYAP for the second time as part of the organisation’s 30th anniversary celebrations.
His second piece depicted leaders and volunteers of the Easter Rising of 1916, including: James Connolly, Joseph Mary Plunkett, Sean MacDermott, Thomas McDonagh, Pádraig Pearse, Thomas Clarke, Eamonn Ceannt, Hanna Sheehy Skeffington and volunteers from Cumann na mBan, the Irish republican women’s organisation. The iconic Ballymun Towers – most of which have been demolished in recent years as part of the regeneration of Ballymun – were named after the 1916 leaders. According to Long, this work is symbolic of his strong connection to Ballymun.