New ‘Festival of Change’ Coming to Mayo and Offaly this April

An exciting festival looking at art in the landscape is coming to Mayo this April. The Festival of Change in Mayo takes place on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th April 2024. The Festival of Change is a collaboration between Offaly County Council, Mayo County Council and Visual Artists Ireland and is funded through the Arts Council’s Invitation to Collaboration Scheme.

The festival will offer an eclectic programme of events and activities, looking at the impact art (both physical and intangible) can have on place and people, socially, economically, and culturally. The festival will be based on two sites in the respective counties: the Tir Saile Sculpture Trail in Mayo, and Lough Boora Sculpture Park in Offaly.

In Mayo, the festival will kick off at Áras Inis Gluaire in Belmullet, on the morning of Friday 12th April with Tionól, a gathering of big & small ideas about art in the landscape.  Through an open call for ideas and possibilities, a number have been selected for presentation to the public as part of the festival. Lunch and an opportunity for attendees to network will follow.

Throughout the afternoon there will be talks and discussions, including:

  • An illustrated talk by photographer and filmmaker Tim Smith and multi-disciplinary artist Hardeep Singh Sahota. The talk will explore how the artists have used creative expression to explore the rhythms of people’s working lives and discuss how their commissioned project has adapted and evolved through collaborating with different people and in different places in the two counties.
  • A live demonstration with artist Eileen Hutton, who will discuss her proposed site-specific response to Tír Sáile, Soil Portraits of Tír Sáile, which is based on soil chromatography, an alternative photography process that creates a ‘soil portrait’ on light-sensitive filter paper.  Eileen will demonstrate the process and talk about some of her current and past projects. 
  • A scoping session with the ‘Wilderness‘ project for artists, living and working in Mayo.  The session will be of particular interest to those who want to know about developing sustainable art practices and will include a short, illustrated introduction to the project and a discussion on how it can respond to local needs.

On Friday evening the festival moves to the new Oweninny Wind Farm Visitor Centre, for the Bhangra Ceilí, an evening of dance that will leave you feeling energised. For the very first time ever, the traditional Irish Céilí, led by local people, will meet Bhangra, led by UK-based practitioner Hardeep Singh Sahota. The evening will include live ceilí music and a demonstration with some easy-to-learn Bhangra moves!

On Saturday the 13th of April the focus shifts further west to the new SOLAS Centre on the Mullet Peninsula.   Presented in partnership with Community Futures, Culturally Rich Neighbourhoods invites communities to come along to a facilitated panel discussion exploring how local economies can benefit from collaboration between the arts, heritage, local business, tourism, and local government.

Central to the festival is the commissioning of two new artworks – one in Offaly and one in North Mayo. The commission was curated by Dr Helen Pheby, Associate Director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park and invited curator for the Art in the Landscape project. Bringing the festival to a close in Mayo on Saturday evening in Ballina Civic Offices, Hardeep Singh Sahota & Tim Smith will present an exhibition and commission showcase – Rhythm of Light. Hardeep and Tim have many years of experience in collaborating with communities, using Bhangra dance and the ephemeral qualities of light painting.

The exhibition will run at Ballina Civic Offices, from April 15th-26th and will be open Monday-Friday from 10am until 1pm.

For the full festival programme and booking information, please visit here.


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