From the desk of Stuart Clark, Hotpress: It’s fitting – but totally coincidental – that on the same day The Cranberries received their first Best Rock Album Grammy nomination, this stunning mural of Dolores O’Riordan was unveiled in Limerick close to King John’s Castle.
The person responsible is Aches, the Dublin street artist who’s managed to overlay three separate images of Dolores doing her rock ‘n’ roll thing on stage. Specialising in what he describes as ‘glitch graffiti’, he was the first artist-in-residency this year at Atelier Maser on Charlemont Street, D2. He had to battle some seriously inclement weather to get the job done, but wherever there’s a will there’s a spray can!
Emma O’Brien brings us the following report and Wally Cassidy the Dolores pic…
The Dolores mural been commissioned by Draw Out, a Limerick-based urban-art initiative, which has brought some of the world’s finest street artists to Limerick City over the past nine years, re-imagining and transforming the city’s derelict sites, reversing the relationship between artist & audience and marking Limerick City as a national and international focal point for the highest quality street art in Ireland.
The brainchild of Creative Director Creative Director Catherine O’Halloran, who has been working in front line community development and arts management for over 10 years, the Limerick-centric urban art festival has been revived for 2019 and beyond. All aspects of Draw Out project management are executed to the highest professional standard, showcasing the world’s most talented and versed artistic visionaries and maintaining a standard of excellence.
“Draw Out is a project that grew out of my work in the communities of Limerick and from an acknowledgment of the importance of environment and creativity in the context of regeneration in Limerick,” Catherine says. “Reimagining the landscape and creating art work that is meaningful and communicates an aspect of Limerick’s Cultural identity has unexpected benefits. It can support a growing sense of cultural identity. Art has the power to communicate all that cannot be expressed otherwise and can speak to us in ways that are deeply moving. The result is work that is uplifting, inspiring and transformational, is that you can facilitate these.”
This year, with the support of Limerick Arts Office and Limerick City and County Council, Draw Out played host to Subset, a Dublin- based artistic co-operative; Aches, a Dublin based artist; and UK duo Best | Ever who were all given the brief of celebrating women in Limerick’s history. The artists interpreted the brief from a variety of angles, bringing some of the most evocative and striking works of art to the streets of Limerick City, expanding on its already varied and dynamic collection of murals drawn from the very walls of Limerick City and from the tales they tell.
This subject matter created an opportunity to commemorate community, to celebrate people and places and reflect on our City’s history, allowing for contemporary insight and the expression of the civic identity Limerick.
“This is the energy we run on and it is a labour of love,” Catherine O’Halloran resumes. “Every one of the murals has been life changing in some way. Now I am much more involved in the curatorial process and have a more matured sense of where the work can lead us. It is rich in possibilities and creative potential.”
The first piece unveiled in the series is a beautiful and powerful depiction of Constance Smith in the Medieval Quarter of Limerick on the gable end of Limerick’s Treaty City Brewery on Nicholas Street, a location that was chosen as the perfect spot for this memorial piece carried out by Dublin’s notorious collective, Subset.
Subset chose to commemorate Constance because “of her unique, fame-infused personal history and tumultuous life as an actor in Hollywood.”
“Despite being partially star-lit, she came across a good bit of misfortune”, adds Decoy, head artist on the Constance project. “Undergoing an abortion forced upon her by her studio, enduring mental health issues in her later life, and sentenced to three months in prison for stabbing her then partner of the time. She died in 2003 working as a cleaner in London. We felt that although all of these unfortunate events happened in her life she is still a hero for Limerick women.”
Constance Smith was born in Limerick in 1928, and became a prominent actress in Hollywood. She fought for her position to be recognised as a leading-role star and although her life was troubled, she garnered a reputation for being strong willed and fierce and for always staying connected to her Limerick roots by refusing to change her name just to please the film industry.
After the positive reaction to the Constance mural, Draw Out have followed up with an incredible RGB-style mural of the late Dolores O’Riordan from the renowned artist Aches. He’s renowned for his stirring portrait of Savita Halappanavar painted the night before the Repeal The 8th referendum.
Aches took the responsibility for undertaking such a well-loved Limerick icon and immortalising her in the Medieval Quarter seriously, and felt that choosing Dolores was an obvious choice given the short time since she has passed and the impact she had while she was living.
He chose a collection of images of Dolores as a young woman for this mural, immortalising her at the peak of her career and depicting her in a way that feels both positive and respectful. This mural honours her contribution to music, her life and her deep-seeded roots in Limerick and displays a true depth of understanding regarding Dolores as a person.
The third piece unveiled on Rutland Street celebrates the women of Limerick as constant supporters, powerful partners and mothers, and the connection that underpins the spirit of Limerick City.
Best | Ever, a duo from the South Coast of the U.K. who tackle sensitive issues through their work, spent time speaking to Limerick men about what it means to have a woman in their life. The answers they received were honest accounts of being kept safe, supported and on the right track by mothers, wives, sisters and friends. Best | Ever wanted to honour the relentless love displayed by the women of Limerick, resulting in an emotive and thought- provoking painting.
“The inspiration for the piece we created for Draw Out came from our involvement in one of Limerick City Build’s therapy sessions”, says one half of the duo, Neil Burton. “The role women played in the lives of the participants came up in conversation and we were struck by the importance the men placed on women in keeping them out of trouble and on the straight and narrow.”
After spending time familiarising themselves with the true spirit of Limerick, its shadows and the light it has the potential to shine on its inhabitants and visitors, Best | Ever felt it only right to inject some of that raw beauty back into their painting.
“We wanted to create a piece that celebrates women as unsung pillars of society as mothers and partners, illustrating the quiet heroism of the act of giving life and nurturing it,” Neil continues/
Limerick is a vibrant, artistic and inclusive city which is currently going through a rebranding process which Draw Out plays a huge part in. Expressing Limerick heritage, socially, economically and mentally, Draw Out aims to address physical regeneration, community regeneration, cultural expression, artistic excellence and to nationally and internationally identify Limerick as a marketable European centre for Urban Art.
Laura Ryan, Head of Communications and Marketing in Limerick City and County Council is responsible for developing and implementing a Communications and Marketing strategy for Limerick and leading a team dedicated to putting Limerick’s reputation, achievements and long term future at its heart. By collaborating with Draw Out, Limerick City and County Council have opened their doors to approaching things in a creative fashion.
Laura says: “The Draw Out Festival is a breath of fresh air in Limerick. It’s great to have such a creative urban art project in the city for the people who live and work here to engage with. It also gives us the opportunity to use the Street Art around the city as a new Trail for people to experience helping us promote Limerick’s stories and culture for those who visit here. Draw Out brings so many internationally recognised artists to Limerick to showcase their work and hats off to Catherine O’Halloran for bringing this ambitious initiative together.”
Mayor Daniel Butler, who played a huge part in procuring sites and aiding in progress for the festival this year, adds: “I have been delighted to be able to support Draw Out and I am really excited to see all the pieces currently being worked on and to come. The project is authentically Limerick and reflects the urban edge our city has, one we should embrace as much as Draw Out has.”
Draw Out will continue to add to their ever expanding portfolio throughout the end of 2019 and into 2020 with many more acclaimed artists booked to add their touch of vibrancy to Limerick’s urban landscape.