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Bealtaine 2018 ‘Be our guest’

Bealtaine 2018 ‘Be our guest’
Celebrating creativity as we age
26 April to 9 June at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre

Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre is celebrating this year’s national Bealtaine Festival with a multidisciplinary exhibition, showcasing many of the art programmes and projects with older people that take place at the Centre and throughout the region, along with workshops, outing to garnish Island, gallery tour and a cross-generational dance performance.

The Bealtaine Festival takes place each May throughout Ireland and involves thousands of participants in every art form. The ancient festival of Bealtaine or Beltane (held on May 1), marked the midway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, and heralded the start of Summer. The word Bealtaine is still used in the Irish language and translates as the month of May.

To mark the occasion, a selection of work from West Cork Arts Centre Older People’s programme will be on exhibition from 26 April to 9 June in the Stairwell & Corridor Galleries. The exhibition includes paintaings by Early Bird Artists who meet at Uillinn each Monday morning with artist Paul Forde Cialis.

There will also be a selection of poems, sculpture, film, music and paintings from each of the eleven locations that participate in the Arts for Health Programme in West Cork including Aboriginal Paintings by residents at Skibbereen Community Hospital with artist Toma McCullim, porcelain ceramics ‘Píosa obair’ by residents in Clonakilty Community Hospital with Sarah Ruttle & Michael Ray, Dancer
Dancer Poems and original musical compositions by residents at Bantry General Hospital collaborating with artist Tess Leak and Daragh Kearns Hayes and ‘Secret life of Thing’ a touring project that took place in five day care centres of Bantry, Castletownbere, Clonakilty, Dunmanway and Skibbereen with artist Toma McCullim, painting and sound installation ‘The Determined Daffodil’ with Sharon Dipity and Fiona Kelleher and residents of Dunmanway Community Hospital.

The featured image is of a felted sculpture ‘Tales, Tears and Tea’ by group from Castletownbere Day Care Centre with visual artist Sarah Ruttle ‘Be our guest’…with hospitality as their primary focus and the theme for this years national event. Participants worked with techniques using felting wool including needle felting and making wet felt. Sharing stories of their experience in giving and receiving hospitality each participant made a panel piece of felt which would form a teapot which was found to be close to the centre of an Irish welcome.

A highlight of this years programme will be a performance fusing dance, music and visual art with a cross-generational community cast, in collaboration with cellist and visual artist Tess Leak, Uillinn Dance Artist in Residence Helga Deasy. The performance is a response to the river Ilen and its historic significance, which will be presented on the railway bridge at West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen on May 5th at 2.30pm. Fingers crossed for fine weather, as all are invited to watch this free performance from the river bank.

A celebration in the community to mark the launch of West Cork Bealtaine will take place Tuesday 1 May with a lunchtime dance at West Cork Hotel, with a live a performance from Starling Song Band. Contact West Cork Older People Network for tickets.
Bealtaine is coordinated by Age & Opportunity, the national organisation working to promote greater participation by older people in society, supported by the Arts Council.