As part of the Ballina 2023 celebrations, and to mark its own 200th anniversary, a collection of artworks by Academy members, inspired by the West of Ireland will exhibit in Ballina for a six-week period, opening on Saturday, September 9 at 5pm. The exhibition, the first time the entire Membership of the RHA has shown together in the West of Ireland, will take place in the Municipal Gallery space in Ballina Civic Offices and will feature over 50 works by artists including Mick O’Dea PPRHA, Aideen Barry ARHA, Donald Teskey RHA and Alice Maher RHA. Presented by Ballina 2023 in partnership with the RHA and Ballina Arts Centre, this exciting exhibition will be supported by a programme of workshops and talks by participating artists.
The Royal Hibernian Academy of the Arts (RHA) is regarded as the home of Irish Art, and was founded in Dublin 1823, the result of a campaign by 30 Irish artists for a permanent space in Dublin to display their works and promote greater public interest in the arts. Over the past two centuries, our members have included many of the most important Irish artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. A powerhouse of the arts and one of the premier art spaces in Ireland, it is steered by an artist-run Academy, which supports artists and provides artist-led training.
Since the late 19th century, the West of Ireland has been an inspiration for artists. In its topography, artists found both beauty and awe. The original focus was south and north Connemara, with its indented coastline and the rising majesty of the Twelve Bens, but since the late 1990s the focus has shifted to North Mayo, the land located above the diagonal from Westport to Ballina. A selection of these works underpins the RHA West exhibition.
Director at the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts, Patrick T. Murphy said This exhibition recognises the magnetism of the West and more recently the draw of North Mayo for artists. Many do not only visit but reside in the beauty and the challenge of its location. We are delighted to partner with Ballina 2023, Mayo County Council and Ballina Arts Centre in this presentation of members of the Academy on the occasion of our bicentennial year.
Ballina 2023 board member and Director of Services at Mayo County Council, Tom Gilligan said: “It is a real privilege for Ballina 2023 to collaborate with RHA on this exhibition, and for both artists and those interested in art to have access to works of this calibre in the west of Ireland. We hope that those who visit the exhibition will marvel at our how our Atlantic landscape has inspired so many talented and accomplished Irish artists and will in turn be inspired by the diversity and richness of the works.”
As part of this event, the below Programme of Presentations and Masterclasses will also take place during the exhibition period in Ballina Arts Centre:
Thursday, September 14: Masterclass in Drawing Anatomy lead by Una Sealy RHA
Thursday, September 21: Aideen Barry ARHA will present and discuss some of her recent short films.
Thursday, October 12: Masterclass on Plein Air painting with Blaise Smith RHA
Wednesday, October 25: Niamh O’Malley ARHA will give a presentation on her participation at the Venice Biennale 2022.
RHA West will open on Saturday, September 9 at 5pm in Ballina Civic Offices. Thereafter, it will open daily from Monday to Friday, from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm and selected Saturdays, to be announced.. Admission is free, and all are welcome. RHA West is a collaborative project between the RHA, Ballina 2023, Ballina Municipal District Council and Ballina Arts Centre. Further information can be found at www.ballina2023.ie and www.ballinaartscentre.com.
Images: Aideen Barry ARHA, Klostes No 4, Still, Video, © RHA Collection.
Eileen MacDonagh ARHA, Window Seat, 2022, Kilkenny limestone, 30 x 15 x 15cm, © RHA Collection.
Maria Simmonds-Gooding RHA, Water source, 1999, Carborundum print, 33 x 48cm, © RHA Collection.
Vivienne Roche RHA, Thorn 2, 2020, Bronze, 24 x 40 x 15cm, © RHA Collection.
Donald Teskey RHA, Crossing the firebreak, Gougane Barra I, 2018, Oil on canvas 163 x 183cm, © RHA Collection.