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Subversive souvenir shop offers fresh view on 1916

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Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, pictured at the opening of the Souvenir Shop by Rita Duffy, with Cavan Co Council Arts Officer, Rhonda Tidy, and Maeve Mulrennan, the Head of Visual Art at Galway Arts Centre. PHOTO: Andrew Downes, XPOSURE

Rise Up baking powder, tins of Peas Process, Padraig Pearse Pasta Sauce, Black and Tan Boot Polish, and a range of pastel balaclavas that double up as tea-cosies are among the items being exhibited in Galway City’s West End, as part of the official 1916 commemorations.

The Souvenir Shop is the work of Belfast artist Rita Duffy and the exhibition is being housed in Number 9 Henry Street in a former sweet shop, which still retains its thatched roof.

Drawing on the idea of the tobacconist shop owned by Proclamation signatory Thomas Clarke, The Souvenir Shop is a place of exchange and ideas. Visitors can buy surreal, openly provocative art by Duffy, made with the support of the Cavan Arts Office and the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA).

The exhibition consists of a range of everyday products that are surreal and poignant, absurd and humorous.  More than 50 different exhibits are displayed and each is accompanied by an explanation which highlights the legacy of 1916, its high points and low points, its relevance and its failures.  The objects also reflect on World War I, where many Irish people lost their lives – including Rita’s grandfather – and the Northern Troubles.

By doing this, Rita connects histories that are often remembered and commemorated in a vacuum, with no connection to what was happening at the same time or what came afterwards.

The Souvenir Shop also explores how the 1916 commemorations have been commodified, and how complicated, sometimes unfinished stories are appropriated and distorted.

Her work addresses concerns about the Rising, the impact of World War I, colonisation, the Catholic Church, the Troubles, even up to the 8th Amendment, as she draws a direct line from Pearse and Connolly through the 20th and now 21st century history of Ireland.

The Souvenir Shop is Duffy’s unique take on 1916, a subversive view from this Belfast woman who comes from the Nationalist tradition

A short film by Art Ó Bríain, Siopa Cuimhneachan, accompanies the exhibition. It was commissioned by Splanc and broadcast on TG4 earlier this year.

The Souvenir Shop by Rita Duffy is one of the major projects commissioned by the Arts Council’s 2016 Centenary Programme. It has been supported by Cavan Arts Office and the Irish Countrywomen’s Association, while Number 9 Henry St, is supported by Galway City Council, Galway Arts Centre and the West End Traders’ Association.

■ The Souvenir Shop was opened last weekend by Arts Minister Heather Humpheys and will run until November 28.

Connacht Tribune

Transatlantic connections reap rich reward for Ultan

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Ultan Conlon...back for Galway gig.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

There will be more than a transatlantic touch to singer-songwriter Ultan Conlon’s latest return to familiar ground – after a prolific summer spent in Los Angeles working on a new album and variation in sound. The Loughrea man has, of course, been one of the most prominent names in Galway music for over a decade. His four albums stand alongside a heaving catalogue of live gigs – he has shared stages with the likes of Eddi Reader, Bryan Ferry and Richard Hawley.

But in recent years, the backdrop for his work has been LA, where the Largo venue and its incumbents have helped forge lasting connections and fuel significant collaborations.

The latest of these is with singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer David Garza, with whom Ultan co-wrote his latest record.

He spent much of the summer in LA and returns with that LP in the works, as well as a small series of Irish gigs scheduled alongside Guatemalan soul artist Gaby Moreno. The Galway date takes place in An Taibhdhearc on November 5, with tickets available online.

“I’d a great time over there,” Ultan says of LA.

“I was there for five weeks – I did a couple of gigs in North Carolina and then I went to LA, and I made a record I co-wrote with a guy called David Garza. He’s a great guy and I’ve met him a few times out there. He produced the album.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Finghin and orchestra team up for unique celebration

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Pianist and Music for Galway's Artistic Director, Finghin Collins. PHOTO: FRANCES MARSHALL.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Every year, pianist Finghin Collins takes a two-week holiday and “tries not to think about music and shows so I can relax the body and brain”.  It’s a rare moment of downtime in a busy schedule which will bring him to Galway next week with the National Symphony Orchestra to perform a new work by Jane O’Leary, written to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Music for Galway, the organisation she co-founded. Finghin is the soloist on the piece entitled, unfolding soundscapes for piano and orchestra.

Finghin has had a busy few months, performing “in Germany, Switzerland and France, making up for Covid times”. Mostly, he’s been playing work by a variety of composers, something he enjoys.

“When you’re performing different composers – Debussy, Beethoven, Brahms and a bit of Schumann – there’s cross-pollination going on in a way that’s enriching in mind and body.

“I enjoy that and the audience enjoys it,” says Finghin whose new CD is due out soon.

He likens playing those different composers to “flitting around like a bee in a flower garden”, which makes it sound easy. But this is a man whose work ethic matches his talent.

One of Ireland’s top performers, Finghin has served as Music for Galway’s Artistic Director for the past decade and he also programmes the New Ross Piano Festival, which was on last weekend.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Take a spooky staycation this Halloween at Púca Festival

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For Halloween fans looking for a spooky staycation with a difference, Púca Festival is just the ticket. Returning to Co. Meath from 28th – 31st October, Púca celebrates Ireland as the original birthplace of Halloween. Vibrant, fun, and contemporary in feel but strongly rooted in tradition, the festival will take place in the hubs of Trim and Athboy.

Now in its fourth year, this year’s festival line-up is an exciting one, with a pool of contemporary Irish acts gearing up to re-ignite Celtic traditions through incredible music and live performances. Offering three breathtaking days and four spectacular nights of music, myth, food, folklore, fire, feasting, and merriment, Púca will boast a range of ticketed and free events, all individually priced.

From the ‘Arrival of the Spirits’ procession in Trim on Saturday 29th October right through to the ‘Coming of Samhain’ celebration at the Hill of Ward in Athboy on Halloween night, visitors will be immersed in the original and authentic spirit of Samhain.

Festivalgoers and fans of folklore will enjoy the well-rounded line-up of evening entertainment showcasing the best in contemporary Irish music, spectacle, and performance, including the talented Imelda May, Gavin James, King Kong Company, Block Rockin’ Beats, Lisa Hannigan & Cathy Davey, Jerry Fish & his Electric Sideshow Cabaret, Joanne McNally, Blindboy, David O’Doherty, Neil Delamere, and Jason Byrne. Headlining the Púca Big Top stage on October 29th, The Academic is an act not-to-be-missed. A thrilling live four-piece, their super-uplifting, hugely melodic guitar-driven sound is the product of a tight-knit gang who’ve been playing together since school.

Historic Halloween Walking Tours, Candlelit Tales Storytelling, Banshee Bingo Hall, Self-guided treasure hunts, Foraging Workshops, Circus performances, and Handfasting Ceremonies will complement the music and comedy programme, ensuring a host of diverse activities to keep visitors entertained all weekend. At Trim Castle, step back in time at the Deise Medieval Traditional Living Village. In the midst of mead and the smoke of the campfire, living history, crafts, and skills of the early to mid-medieval period come to life and will be open for all the family to discover from 29th – 31st October.

And as Samhain is a time for feasting, Jack O’Lanterns Food & Craft Markets at Trim Castle will feature local harvest offerings and Halloween favourites, in what promises to be the most spirited Púca festival yet.

Tickets are on sale now at Pucafestival.com

Book Now and Save 10%! Use Promo Code Pucafestival10 and receive a 10% Discount!

Keep up to date with PÚCA E-NEWS – Click here to subscribe to our e-newsletter and be the first to hear about all Púca Festival goings on.

Follow PÚCA on social and keep up to date with all Púca news. Use the hashtag #PucaFestival and join the Púca conversation. Facebook: @pucafestival
Instagram: @pucafestivalireland Twitter: @pucafestival

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