“I go to seek a Great Perhaps” Young People Curating in Limerick City Gallery of Art

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Today I’m writing about an exhibition I saw in the Limerick City Gallery of Art recently that got me very excited. I was down in Clare with my family as my sister (a harpist) was performing with the Clare Memory Orchestra, and my mum and I headed off to visit this gallery.

Look at the cool sculptures on the outside of the building! There are lots of these tiny little bronze figures – my favourite is the little guy climbing the ladder, pictured below. Other figures were reading, hanging from ledges and more!

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The gallery houses mostly modern art – other exhibitions included a lot of installations and video art. The show I was most interested in though was ‘I go to seek a Great Perhaps’. The name comes from a Rabelais quote, used in John Green’s popular YA novel Looking for Alaska. This ties in nicely with the premise of the exhibition – it was co-curated by young people from the area working with Shinners Scholar Aoibheann McCarthy. The young curators, aged between 14 and 20, chose 3 works each and their responses to the works are used on the information panels.

Isn’t this just a fantastic idea? It is a great way to get young people into galleries, and to encourage them to engage with art. It’s the kind of scheme I would love to be involved with myself, and I found the exhibition very enjoyable. The responses were very well-written – describing how works linked to fears for the future or difficulties in having your voice heard as a young adult, or engaging with art historical methodologies such as feminism. I found their commentaries both insightful and interesting – Caoimhe Taylor Moloney’s analysis of Vivienne Bogan’s work Stitched Pail No.2 made me look at it in a whole new light, and I loved how Owen Mulligan connected Janet Mullarney’s sculpture Waiting for Illumination to the state of transition and the vulnerability experienced as a young person. The aesthetic responses too shows an engagement and appreciation of the works and their themes. Familiar artists in the exhibition included Mary Swanzy, Jack B Yeats, Alice Maher, Daniel Maclise and John Lavery but I was delighted to discover many new artists as well. The selection made was varied and interesting, and overall it was an excellent exhibition.

I hope this scheme will be taken up by other galleries around the country – it is a great chance for young people to engage with artworks, and learn about curating, and the resulting exhibition was a definite success. For more information, and some images from the exhibition, see: http://www.agreatperhapslimerick.com/

I would also like to say a quick thank you to the lovely staff at the gallery who were very helpful, and gave me a lovely little book about the gallery’s collection. 🙂

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