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The art of our rural life

Rurality — the experience and manifestation of living in rural situations — can have a voice and expression in art practice.

It happens a government department appears to encompass art, rural affairs and the Irish language. It is incumbent upon those engaging in each to let be known these facets are far from marginal.

In the horrors of the boom-bust time, practitioners in art and culture have had to take recourse to the line of making protest as ‘spatial strategy’ and motorway money trumped the lived space of people.

It is timely that artists who are in rural contexts seek to amplify how rural existence is a critical part of all of living in Ireland. We practitioners must confront ourselves with the realities of ecology and humans in rural space. There are many rather beautiful examples of art practice manifesting rurality. One thinks of many inspired examples in Co Clare — the poetic map-tracery of illuminated barns across the Clare countryside at night; the resonance of X-PO echoing rural post office life and transaction; Cross-lands confronting official stance on land use and local farm practice; space allowed for contemplation on cillinsl the great, long time ago, Ennistymon-open all town exhibition. No doubt the Burren college and its multivariate practitioners in art know they and Clare are universal and dead on centred and grounded in the rurality of life.

Tom Ryan

Dun Bleisce (Doon)

Co Limerick


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