Siamsa Tíre launches its first online exhibition on the 4th February in response to the present COVID restrictions. The exhibition Ciorcal Iomláin represents a feast of creativity with a collection of fine art, photography, ceramics, contemporary installation, woolcraft, felting and weaving, all created over the last number of years by ‘INHOUSE’ a group of Kerry artists. As Siamsa Tíre is unable to open the gallery, the technical team harnessed its own creativity to work with the North Kerry art collective, under HSE guidelines, to install the exhibition and provide a virtual exhibition tour. This video tour will be launched online on siamsaTíre.com from Thursday 4th Feb with an introduction by exhibition curator Tara Horan.
This exhibition showcases a diverse range of art forms developed by a group of women artists living and working in Kerry known as ‘INHOUSE’. Group members include Margaret Kennedy, Noreen Breen, Jo Mc Elligot, Jacinta Scully-Usher, Catherine Pearson, and Susan Hitching. Once the exhibition is launched, the group will work with the Siamsa Tíre team to share the exhibition and talk about their own experience as artists with secondary schools to help them meet elements of the Leaving Cert curriculum.
The ‘INHOUSE’ collective was set up to accommodate and provide a support system for artists who were working alone and felt isolated in their practice. Pre-COVID, they met regularly in Siamsa Tíre to exchange ideas, discuss and pursue their work. It enabled the artists to pursue their creative expression, extend their expertise by facilitating skills-swop, discussions and constructive critique. With shared encouragement and support, this has created a sense of well-being and a stimulus for personal development. These connections proved even more important throughout the Covid pandemic, all culminating in six confident artists working together to present their first group exhibition.
The collection reflects the evolution of the artists’ work over the last few years and encompasses many different themes from environmental issues, mythology, folklore and heritage. One of the group members, Noreen Breen tragically suffered the bereavement of her beloved husband, local builder Tom Ross. In recognition of how art and the support of the group has helped her through this difficult time, this exhibition has been dedicated to the memory of Tom Ross.
‘INHOUSE’ member Susan Hitching comments, “We started out with regular meetings at Siamsa Tíre to share our creativity. We extended our meetings to more frequent sessions; drawing each others portraits, visiting our studios and celebrating special occasions.
As a group we were involved in the Siamsa Tíre Artist in Residence program with exhibition openings and Culture Night projects.” Susan Hitching continued,“We have all benefited from the safe environment of ‘INHOUSE’, developing our joy of creative expression and valuing each others strengths. We are honest with our critique and have enjoyed learning the value of different styles of working. This has also been a distracting focus from the virus. I hope people hearing about the value of our group on our mental health and well being, may feel encouraged to do something similar especially in these difficult times.”
Tara Horan, Siamsa Tíre Exhibition Curator added, “We are delighted to be able to present the work of the ‘INHOUSE’ group despite the gallery being closed. ‘INHOUSE’ members have been working on this exhibition for some time, and originally this was due to open before Christmas. With everything that has happened to the world and the group in the last year, it seemed even more important to go ahead and showcase their work. This highlights the benefits of coming together, to create and to share – taking part in the arts in whatever form that takes can connect us and support our mental health and well being, all the more important in these challenging times.”
‘INHOUSE’ has seen the benefits of being a small closed group mainly because of the vulnerability members felt at the early stages. ‘INHOUSE’ is an organic group which has changed and developed from its origins and continues to evolve. They have adapted their meetings because of Covid 19, using social media and online communications, in finalising details for this exhibition. The members have been excited to embrace technology to bring their exhibition to the public online while it is impossible for people to see the works in person.
The ‘INHOUSE’ collective is very grateful for the support provided by Kerry County Council’s Arts Office which has sustained its development.
‘INHOUSE’ would also like to acknowledge Siamsa Tíre and its staff for their support and belief in the collective from the beginning. There is been a special connection between ‘INHOUSE’ and Siamsa Tíre since 2016.