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Irish canvas

Two Irish artists, who were in the city last week, are to display their impressions about India at Cork, Ireland, the European Capital for Art and Culture, 2005. TANYA ABRAHAM met them.

Una Quigley and Margaret Fitzgibbon

WITH EVERY passing moment the global network of nations, people and their cultures keeps expanding bridging the gap between them. And this time it is in the field of art.

Two Irish artists Margaret Fitzgibbon, a sculptor, and Una Quigley, a specialist in multi-media, arrived at Kochi to create visual documentation of their perceptions of Indian people and their customs to be displayed at an exhibition in November at Cork, Ireland. Cork has being declared as the European Capital for Art and Culture, 2005.

"Basically, it will be an exhibition of various groups of artists who will display their works in the form of performances, films etc, each of which will speak for the country we work with," said Ms. Fitzgibbon.

Cork Collective

Ms. Quigley informed that they belong to a studio group of ten artists known as `Cork Collective', members of which have been allocated select Asian countries to work with. "India was a deliberate decision. There is so much to see and learn here. It is a whole different business. People in Ireland remain largely unaware of the happenings here."

The idea behind the project, they believe, is to emphasise the realities of life. That in truth the people of Ireland and India may have more in common than a neighbouring country much of which has been left inexperienced. "What we are doing will not cease to remain a one time project; instead we are looking at a long term relationship, to create a global identity. Europe definitely is a global power with so much happening, and then you come to a place like India and are bombarded by this massive energy and the intense business going on. The place by itself holds much and we don't see this else where." Ms. Fitzgibbon emphasises on the life in the backwaters- of the fishermen in tiny canoes to large shipping vessels that ply the waters. "We have made a piece on this aspect of life here in order to portray the vibrancy and intense energy," she said.


For Ms. Quigley, it's been Kathakali that has fascinated her. She explained having got her eyes made up in true Kathakali fashion and a picture taken which she will use in her work. "Basically, I want to see through the eyes of these artists, their lives and their work. How they depict a piece and the manner in which they view the audience and what they feel. It speaks volumes of the kind of people they are."

Position of women

Besides this, they explained that what does not cease to enthral them is the position of women in India. "The red light area in Bombay was fascinating; women dressed in gaudy attire were bold enough to display their profession yet shied away on seeing us. And then we observed women enjoying a better position in society in Kerala, all of which speak of the lives of the people of this nation."

The two artists were highly enthusiastic in capturing these aspects on film, from which, they will create various methods to portray what they see and perceive. It could be from sculptures to stills. And that's not all. Artists from India will be invited to take part in the show, where, debates and discussions regarding art and culture would be the focus. "We will ask these artists to view our works on their nation, perceive it from their angle and speak about it. It will also mean the display of their works."

Undoubtedly this means weaving nations together. Exchanging culture for culture, and art for art. Truly bonding nations in an artistic way as part of globalisation!

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