John Behan’s ‘Seven Ages of Man’ Sculpture Exhibition

 

john-behanIt is always exciting and though provoking to get the opportunity to view the new work of John Behan one of Ireland’s foremost sculptors which are on view in Dublin’s Solomon Gallery.

In this exhibition John Behan manages to both move and challenge us with his stunning pieces of sculpture. Opened by President Michael D Higgins this show displays all the depth and character of Behan’s work as an artist still driven by his love and compassion for humanity.

Just as his incredible bronze famine ships continue to depict the ghostly exile of Ireland’s Great Famine emigrants sailing to new shores, Behan having conducted art workshops in the Eleonas  refugee camp in Athens which houses over 2,000 Syrian refugees has  been inspired to chart new journeys .

This time with a number of magnificent bronzes Behan has captured the plight of desperate migrants on flimsy overcrowded ribs, dinghies and boats desperate to flee war-torn Syria in the hope of finding refuge and peace.  The lonely figure of a man lifts the doll like figure of a small child taken from the sea.

In his series ‘The Seven Ages of Man’ Behan returns to one of his favourite figures the bull, and as in William Shakespeare’s famous words, he depicts the ever changing form and figure of the bronze bull, from its early days of vitality and strength, vigour and power to eventual old age and weakness and frailty.

As John Behan celebrates his eightieth birthday, he not only continues to make art and to sculpt, but continues to inspire us all.

Blazing a Trail…Irish Women Who Changed the World

IMG_3928What an amazing launch in Dun Laoghaire’s Lexicon Library for Sarah Webb’s wonderful new book Blazing a Trail…Irish Women Who Changed The World.

Sarah and talented Illustrator Lauren O’Neill have shone a light on 28 amazing intelligent, hardworking, pioneering Irish women who have influenced people both at home here in Ireland and across the world.

In terms of design, Blazing a Trail is visually stunning and an exhibition of Lauren’s illustrations from the book is currently on display at the Lexicon.

Sarah has done a huge job in compiling, researching and finding out more about these incredible women some of whom I’m ashamed to admit I was not even aware of.

From Maureen O’Hara, Sybill Connolly, Eileen Grey, Nellie Cashman, Aleen Cust, the list I promise is truly varied and this is a book that deserves to be read by girls of all ages.

Ossian Smyth Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and Librarian Marian Keyes helped to launch the book alongside O’Brien Press Editor Aoife Walsh.  There was a great surprise when a few members of Sarah’s talented young writers group, complete with wigs and costume, entertained us with dramatized scenes from the lives of three of these remarkable women.   What a brilliant night and what a brilliant book!

‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’ for the first time in Ireland- on stage at The MAC Theatre in Belfast.

VPER4767

The Cast of ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’ on stage at The MAC Theatre in Belfast 

There was great celebrations and fun at the opening night of the stage play of ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’ on Friday in Belfast. I was a strange mixture of nerves and excitement as I watched my story so beautifully unfold on the stage of The MAC Theatre.

CAHOOTS and Director Paul McEneaney have done a marvelous job with this truly innovative production which combines music, song and story to help tell the story of The Great Irish Famine.

SJLS1099

With Director Paul McEneaney 

The actors were amazing and I found it very emotional watching Eily, Michael and Peggy and their family as the potatoes fail and their lives change forever. The three children, forced to leave home, must fight to survive as they go in search of their great-aunts. 

Sabine D ’Argent’s circular stage set is deceptively simple, but hides a few things which combined with  Carlos Pons Guerra’s  choreography and James McFetridge’s lighting bring a haunting kind of magic to the show.     

There were tears, emotion and laughter along the way and like all the audience I was riveted by the incredible songs and Garth McConaghie’s stunning music which has added another layer to the story.

The play surpassed all my hopes and expectations and I was overwhelmed by the reaction of kids, families and lovers of the book, to the show.

Charles Way’s adaptation of my book works brilliantly and the hard work and effort of the large cast and crew have resulted in a very memorable stage production which I promise is different from anything else most of us have seen.

I was so happy when I saw the show again the next day and am Belfast bound again later this week.

Thank you to everyone in CAHOOTS and at The MAC Theatre for putting ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’ on stage from this very grateful author!

The Cast and Crew, My daughter Mandy  and On stage