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Artist - Colm Rooney

From Chimes to Sunrises

Dunmanway & Clonakilty Community Hospitals, Bantry General Hospital &Skibbereen Daycare Centre
Arts for Health West Cork

A first project for artist and musician Colm Rooney, he began working with participants in Dunmanway, Clonakilty and Bantry and presented the residents with a set of chimes as an exploration in orchestration. 

Exploring counting exercises initially but much more fun were the “free for alls” which later were audio recorded and sequenced. This audio was then used to accompany an animated series of watercolor abstract landscapes, produced in parallel and in response to the sounds created. He was mentored throughout this process, given he was new to this work, by artist Sarah Ruttle in Clonakilty Hospital for 12 weeks.

Taking from this free flowing experimental project, Colm repeated the project with more structure for a group at Skibbereen Day Care Centre over 8 weeks.

Participants were given a sheet of best quality watercolor paper on which was drawn a single horizontal line. This single guiding reference allowed the resulting images to be sequenced by the artist to form a visual animation. A simple guitar motif was added to produce the an animation which runs at over 15 minutes reflecting the large volume of work produced by the 380 participants over the space of 20 sessions, reflecting the joy in the simple collective painting exercise. It also reflect the uniqueness in each person’s approach to colour, line and medium using the very same task.

Both films were exhibited in Uillinn, West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen during Bealtaine in 2015.

Throughout these sessions I learned of the diversity of ability throughout the Community Hospitals. I learnt to encourage participation, in what to most was a new medium of watercolours, the introduction of music and song reduced hesitancy and resistance to paint and taking a creative risk in a group setting. There was significant higher participation in the daycare setting.

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