The Museum of Song Project by artists Tess Leak and Sharon Whooley was due to take place this April through a series of on-site sessions in community hospitals in West Cork. With the closure of hospitals to all but essential staff, the project has been reimagined by the artists. Over the next six weeks, Tess and Sharon will be sending packages full of poetry and song to particpants in St. Joseph’s Unit, Bantry General Hospital and Dunmanway, Schull and Skibbereen Community Hospitals.
For this first week, they have asked participants to think about ‘The Songs of Our Mothers and Fathers.’ Each package includes a stamped addressed envelope so particpants can respond and tell the artists about songs they might have heard when growing up. They have also included a postcard of a Song Thrush, a poem by Seán Ó’ Suilleabháin, resident and programme participant from St. Joseph’s Unit, Bantry called ‘The Jig, the Bucket and the Rabhcánaí’ and the lyrics of ‘The Inchigeela Lass’ which was a favourite song of Nellie’s from Dunmanway.
They hope by next week to have received some replies which they can then share with you.
“When initially faced with the closure of hospitals to all but essential staff, the artists were keen to find a way to continue to connect and maintain the relationships built over many months. With the support of the hospital management and staff, we were able to find ways to engage with the participants who were already challenged by isolation. It seems more important than ever to keep a wider community connect and engage the mind in creativity, to help maintain well-being.” Justine Foster, Arts for Health Partnership Programme Manager