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Clifden Arts Festival 2022 Visual Arts Programme

By August 21, 2022September 13th, 2022No Comments

The visual arts have been an important component of the Clifden Arts Festival since its inception. Connemara has a magnetic effect on artists of all genres but particularly visual artists. Being immersed in the wild beauty of this place has inspired visual artists for centuries. This year we hope to inspire you with The Arts Trail, featured in many windows around the town featuring the work of over 30 artists connected to Connemara, then, we will have our Studio Trail Bus Tour immersing you in the Connemara Art Experience. We also have over 20 solo and group exhibitions at various venues around the area.

HAIL THEE: We Come in Reveries of Change

HAIL THEE: We Come in Reveries of Change

Connemara designer and creative director Alison Conneely presents a project commissioned by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), whose activities promote global standards for social justice, human rights and climate justice.

This is a cross-cultural, multidisciplinary project which aims to highlight global campaigns for reproductive rights, justice and equality for women in their bodies; in the home; in the workplace; in the arts; saluting their place in myth and history and their role as agents of resolution in global crisis.

This launch will showcase the commissioned works in this project: Colours and symbols in delicate silk invoke ancient myths, poetic imaginings, Native American wisdom and the migrant’s crossing in a series of silk scarves created with international artists – Maria Azambuja, Alannah Davey, Rosa Farahani, Rachel Fallon, Jahnavi Inniss, Alice Maher, Paula McGloin, Isabel Nolan, Jesse Jones, and Hina Khan. In Alison Conneely’s tapestry, set in the ancient bog of Derrigimlagh, a female figure rises from the lily bed pond, calling us to action.

In a series of texts, researcher and writer Sara O’Rourke, maps myth and constellation in poetic prose. Composer and musician Nina Hynes will craft a soundscape, creating an immersive experience through a sonic response to the pieces.

Collectively it is a ‘call to action.’

Official Opening: 13th September 6:30 PM

Duration: 15 th – 25 th September 2022


The Studio Trail

Take the Studio Trail Bus Tour for the fully immersive Connemara Art experience. Winding through the dramatic scenes of Moyard, Letterfrack National Park and the Inagh Valley to Recess, the tour will bring
you from Clifden to three important local studios and galleries featuring locally and internationally produced work. Firstly to Bernie Dignam’s Connemara Creative Studio and Gallery, where she will give a short talk
on her work and processes, followed by the ‘Falling in love outward’ exhibition at Interface in the Inagh Valley featuring nine international artists and finally finishing up at Joyces’ Craft Shop Recess, a haven of different handmade crafts from artisans based all around Ireland since 1930. See individual exhibition listings for full details.

Leaving from outside Clifden Library, the tour is approximately 2.5 hours long.

Tour Dates: September 18th, September 21st,  September 23rd
All tours leave at 10:30 AM sharp.
Tickets: €20 Buy your Ticket here.


Affinity – Colleen Fitzpatrick, Maria Laffey and Mary Hession


This exhibition presents work by artists Mary Hession, Colleen Fitzpatrick and Maria Laffey, each with a different style but united and inspired by awe and awareness of our natural world; the result is the subjective experience of nature made visible from three unique perspectives.

This exhibition provides a pause and place of reflection on the spirit of the natural world. These paintings are a celebration of the vastness, beauty and vulnerability of nature in these uncertain times. Art points us to the world, helping us to see things we don’t usually notice, such as the pace and beauty of the natural environment, providing a space where we can pause and contemplate our world.

The three artists studied Fine Art together at the GMIT, Castlebar, graduating in 2010 and all live on the rugged West Coast along the Wild Atlantic Way, where nature in its rawness is in abundance.

Official Opening: Wednesday 14th September 5 PM


‘Praise in which I live, and move and have my being.’

Cow Swimming – Kevin Griffin

Local photographers respond to a line taken from the poet and Clifden Arts Festival favourite Paul Durcan’s last anthology of the same name published in 2012. We live and love and have our beings sometimes unconsciously in a temperamental timeless place. Praise is sometimes far from our lips but never from our eyes.

This exhibition is a prism of contemporary Connemara experience and vision to convey their inspiration here through the lens of six different viewpoints. Kevin Griffin, Brian Kelly, Cliodhna Prendergast, Mark Furniss, Aoife Herriott and Mark Joyce.

Official Opening: Wednesday 14th September 7PM


Entanglement – The West Family

This is the collected works of one prodigious family, a genetic mycelium of creativity enfolded and unfolding over generations and mediums.

Charcoal – Margaret Irwin

Born in India to Irish parents, Margaret Irwin West is a printmaker and painter with roots in Roscommon who has been living and working in Connemara since 1991. In 2008, she received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from County Galway Arts Office, while in April 2019, she was elected to Aosdána. The work she has chosen for this exhibition concerns her journey back to full vision after a severe haemorrhage behind her good eye in September 2021.

Katharine West

Katharine West is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, the School of Decorative Arts, Strasbourg, and the New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University. She is a Fulbright Ireland Alumna and a member of the International Academy of Ceramics. Katherine is the Programme Chair of ATU’s BA in Art, lectures in Ceramics Art, and makes work from her studio in Roscahill, County Galway.

Richard West

Richard West woodturner studied at the College of Art and Design, Dún Laoghaire. Richard likes the idea that a fallen tree does not necessarily have to end up rotting in the earth, but a part of it can be repurposed through a new shape while still keeping its original essence. No one piece is the same, just as no tree is the same.

Manon West

Manon West grew up in Connemara, surrounded by the local artist community. She was trained in Etching by her grandmother Margaret Irwin. She began as a traditional artist and has turned to digital media like photography and digital painting. Her practice is based on narratives, shown through details and extreme points of view. Inspired by classical painting and film, her work aims to bring the viewer into a story. She has had several exhibitions at the Clifden Arts Festival. The first was in 2017, and she recently had her graduate art show in ATU Galway.

Official Opening: Friday 16th September, 6 PM


Nothing to do with Everything – Angie Williams

Nothing to do with Everything – Angie Williams

This exhibition shows examples of my father’s hand-drawn and painted illustrative works executed between 1942 and the year of his death in 2015, coupled with my oil paintings, which are infused with small, detailed fragments taken from his artworks.

Born in 1922, 100 years ago this year, it seemed fitting to have a retrospective of his work and have it merge with what I am currently painting.

An unassuming character, my father Eric, had an eccentric and, oft times, a bizarre sense of humour. He spent the last three years of his life living in Clúid, here in Clifden. Even though his wife, my mother, had passed, some five years previously, he felt and believed he was ‘nearer to her’ here in Connemara, where she was born and bred.

He appreciated surrealism, enjoyed the works of Spike Milligan and admired Heath Robinson, influences of the latter, I believe, are self-evident in aspects of some of his works.

I started my paintings in the spring of 2020. The Connemara skies were a sight to behold, incredible vast skies with mesmerising colours and sunsets. As a nod to both surrealism and Eric, I decided to merge aspects of his work into my own in the manner you will see before you at the Clifden Arts Festival 2022 exhibition.


Into The Wild An exhibition of paintings by Festus Pryce

Into The Wild – Festus Pryce

Festus Pryce was born in Brooklyn, New York, on the 8th of February 1963, but he has spent most of his adult life in Clifden.

Festus has a rare congenital condition which has left him with just one functioning hand and arm since birth. Festus moved to Clifden when he was 14 with his two sisters and his parents, He attended the then recently-opened Clifden Community School. Festus worked in Foyle’s Hotel and later for Galway County Council.

Festus developed an interest in painting about 25 years ago. This pastime became a lifelong passion that has grown and developed alongside his innate curiosity about wildlife and the natural world.

Festus begins each painting as a pencil drawing which he then develops with carefully placed layers of acrylic paint. These are meticulously honed using a profusion of finely executed brushstrokes. Each mark is thoughtfully placed so that textures and surfaces come to life as the painting is revealed.


T.S Evita Art – Szilvia Toth

T.S Evita Art – Szilvia Toth

Szilvia Toth’s drawings are centred around the feminine-masculine energy harmonisation. ‘I try to establish true feminine and masculine values by portraying people who embody these values’ Szilvia came to drawing late in her life as a way of processing her time in the Middle East, standing firm for human rights. Her favourite mediums are pencil drawing and marker pen.


This Humble Ground by Mary Donnelly

Green Field – Mary Donnelly

“As a landscape painter, I develop my creative sensitivities and perceptions by returning, again and again, to discover truth and beauty through my subject matter, the Connemara landscape. Living within this sublime landscape is a significant aspect of my artistic process. In my encounters with it, my perceptions and sensitivities are present in a space beyond the realm of the physical senses and intellect, a place where nonlanguage exists.”

Duration: 13-25 September


‘Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This’ – Deborah Pumfrett

Dakin – Deborah Pumfrett

Deborah Pumfrett is a British artist who moved to Clifden in 2008 and has had work shown previously as part of Arts Trails and group exhibitions. This year, the contribution is an experimentation in monochrome based on life experience, Winter21/Spring22.


I am a Visionary Force of Nature – Connemara Muses

I am a Visionary Force of Nature – Connemara Muses

Connemara Muses is a project created by Connemara-based female artists who aim to use visual arts as a ground for an exploration of interconnectedness with the natural world, femininity in its depth and those aspects of our minds and hearts that are vague and enigmatic. The initiative aims to create a space for creative collaboration, empower emerging artists and push the boundaries of creative expression in Connemara. The goal is to motivate, inspire, ignite a sparkle of creativity in others and promote the uniqueness of feminine art in the Connemara region and beyond.

“We want to free the creative flow of life and let it manifests its wildness through our hands, hearts and minds and use it as a catharsis and a way to find a balance in these challenging times.”

I am a Visionary Force of Nature is the first group exhibition in which ten local artists will collaborate to showcase the various creative frequencies embedded in our DNA: gentle and bold, soft and rough, calm and wild… like nature and women themselves.

Artists involved in the project:

  • Iwona Adamczak (Painting)
  • Marie Cazeres (Drawing, Watercolor)
  • Iryna Chyryk (Digital Photography)
  • Raine Kenny (Double Exposure Photography)
  • Gosia Kamieniecka (Drawing, Painting)
  • Kaisu Meechan (Digital Photography, Collages)
  • Marta Wanczyk (Ceramics, Photography)
  • Ilona Wielosik (Painting)
  • Caroline King (Sculpture, Mixed Media)
  • Sean Mercer (Green-Wood Craft, Installation)

Connemara Muses will create regular exhibitions in various venues and themes throughout the year. This is a unique opportunity to dive into the heterogeneity of Connemara art.


New Work – Kateryna Penchkovska


The Hare – Kateryna Penchkovska

Penchkovska Kateryna is an artist from Ukraine. She has lived her whole life up to this point in Odessa.

She studied drawing at an art school. In 2007 Kateryna graduated from the art department of the Pedagogical University.

She has been engaged in art and creative activities all her life. She worked in various art workshops, in an art gallery, in a design studio, taught drawing to children, and participated in multiple exhibitions and projects. Due to recent events, Kateryna has found a temporary home in Clifden, and her new works are closely related to the impressions of this country and its culture.


Connemara Notebooks and Landscapes – Caroline Canning


Connemara Notebooks and Landscapes – Caroline Canning

Caroline Canning lives and works in Dublin and Cleggan, Connemara. The landscape is her primary subject, and the capture of light is what gets her up in the morning. Central to her practice is the keeping of notebooks of daily drawings of whatever she happens to be up to at the time. The entries often form starting points for her paintings. She has been keeping daily notebooks for ten years and shares some here. She is also showing new landscape work painted through the windows of her house.

“I love painting through windows and all that dancey light that can happen when the sun bounces around.”



Traces – Isabelle Gaborit
and Janet Mercer

In this joint exhibition, artists Isabelle Gaborit and Janet Mercer are exploring themes of the physicality of art-making and materials and the physical properties of the landscape.

Both artists are inspired by the rugged landscape of the West of Ireland, yet each sees something different. They use their chosen media to reveal their own interpretation by adding and taking away material to shape the image.

Gaborit seeks to reveal the essence of what lies beneath the surface, adding and taking away the encaustic medium by scoring and scraping through layers of colour to create highly tactile surfaces.

Mercer is interested in how both natural and man-made structures in the landscape reveal contours and define sculptural forms. Her work combines building up layers of charcoal or graphite, erasing areas and removing material to refine and reveal forms within the image.

Official Opening: Thursday 15th September 4:15 PM


Tranquillity – Reingard Gahan

Tranquillity – Reingard Gahan

Sadly, we lost a very dear friend of the Clifden Arts Festival this summer. Reini Gahan participated in the Festival for over 20 years since moving from Düsseldorf to Clifden in 2001. Her work has been a beautiful reflection of the love she felt for her newfound home. We are humbled and honoured that, with the support of her close friends, her wish that her exhibition go ahead this year is fulfilled.


Into The Deiseart – Cyril Ó’Flaithearta

Lifting the Veil – Cyril Ó’Flaithearta

Since the Artists in Residence of the Inis Lacken Project 2001, Cyril O’Flaithearta has followed the islands along the west coast of Ireland, visiting, recording, and responding by painting these landscapes and their inhabitants while not forgetting those of its past.


Here Today – Damian Manning

Here Today – Damian Manning

Here Today is the continuation of Damian’s Last Years’ Clifden Arts Festival exhibition. “Ever Changing”. The eclectic mix of images ranges from man-made objects and structures beside organic shapes/elements from nature.

“I recreate what I see, and it augments on the way through me to become my art. I decided to follow in Vincent’s footsteps, and instead of the Caffe Terrace, I created the Clifden Terrace using pastel in Plein air. In the last rays of Clifden’s summer sun, I began the ‘Clifden Terrace’ piece. Come see the real and surreal.”


Landscape of the Living – Chris Munnia


Feather Couture –  Isobel Marinot-Wood, Marinot Millinery


Feather Couture – Isobel Marinot-Wood, Marinot Millinery

Isobel’s background was in jewellery design and goldsmithing, having studied at the Belfast’s University of Ulster. Flora and fauna play a large part in the inspiration of Isobel’s designs. Living in Connemara helps, with nature at its best, along with an outdoor lifestyle and worldwide travel. Each “Feather Couture” picture is unique. The feathers are often dyed, cut, steamed and played with to give different effects, from unspoilt to modern quirkiness. As the light catches individual feathers, showing their iridescent tones.


Meitheal Ealaíne – Kate McNamara, Gina Foyle, Colin Snow

Meitheal Ealaíne – Kate McNamara, Gina Foyle, Colin Snow

Meitheal Ealaíne is a coming together of three local people who share a common fascination with the detail and appreciation of local animals and natural life.

Kate MacNamara and Gina Foyle are work colleagues at Clifden Pharmacy and have previously exhibited their respective artworks and photography together at Clifden Arts Festival.

This year, they are joined by local tradesman and metalworker Colin Snow whose striking sculptures have rapidly gained much interest recently.

Together they present this combined representation of the beauty of our local environment. It may surround us every day, but its value never goes unnoticed.


A Love of Ground – Bernie Dignam

A Love of Ground – Bernie Dignam

This exhibition celebrates ground, from which growth springs and provides for our physical, mental and emotional health. These new works are inspired by an appreciation for the soil that nourishes us daily.

Society is obsessed with technology; sometimes, we forget that nature is essential to our well-being. The world is hurtling towards a centralised digital reality where biology and technology merge. We need to re-kindle our reverence for the natural world and thus slow down the race to an artificial one.

Exhibition opening Saturday 17th September at 4 pm.

Supported by Interface.

Gallery opening times are 11 am – 6 pm for the festival’s duration or by appointment outside these hours.

Tel: 087 6908137

Official Opening: Saturday 17th September, 4 PM


Selected Works – Joe Hogan, Adam Frew, Andrew Luddick

Joyce’s Craft Shop

Joyce’s Craft Shop and Art Gallery Recess are hosting their annual exhibition ‘The Connemara Design Story’ featuring seven different limited edition Irish crafts that are inspired by the people, landscape and stories of Connemara.

Joe Hogan (basket maker) is showing his Autumn 2022 exhibition with some extralarge work on display.

Irish craft and design are now globally recognised, with makers like Inis Méain Knitwear, Adam Frew, Andrew Luddick, and Andrea Spenser at the forefront of this new wave of makers all can be seen on display.

Kathleen Davis’s new exhibition of porcelain work is named Cíoch Farraige. This work, based on the Connemara shore, is also on display.


Falling in love outward – Interface

Interface – Aoife Herriot

Falling in love outward is a site-specific, international exhibition curated by Alannah Robins.

In the unique environs at Interface, a visual artists’ workspace in the Inagh Valley, Connemara, nine artists engage with themes of ecological devastation and repair.

Taking its title and impetus from The Ecology of Perception, an interview by Emergence magazine with David Abram, the exhibition urges falling in love with other than humans as the only path towards ecological recovery.

The nine artists are members of three artist-led initiatives, drawn together through online programming during COVID lockdowns:

  • Breda Burns
  • Jane Cassidy
  • Ian Wieczorek (Interface, Inagh),
  • Zahra Zavareh
  • Emmy Djikstra
  • Jenny Soep (Detroit, Stockholm)
  • Seçil Yaylali
  • Özgür Demirci
  • Gulçin Aksoy (Pasaj, Istanbul)

Together with work by Mary Donnelly, Dolores Lyne, Bernie Dignam, Bryan Gerard Duffy, Selma Makela, Olivia Hassett, Betty Gannon, Margaret Irwin West, Angela Williams, Linda Schirmer, Lelia Ní Chathmhaol, Geraldine Behan, Eileen Ryan, Tim Acheson, Noel Arrigan.

“It seems to me that falling in love outward with the more-than-human earth is the deepest medicine for this, because if there’s anything that the local earth wherever you live teaches, it’s the need for diversity, the need for the whole, weird multiplicity of shapes of life and styles of sentience—all of them shaped so differently from you and from one another—to be interacting with one another in order for the land to be strong, to be healthy, to be resilient .… That’s the deep magic that I think is leaking back into human society today and into the more-than-human community as we humans fall in love outward.” – David Abram

The exhibition is open 11 AM – 6 PM every day.

(086) 1993878


Sea Carpets – Hanneke Frenkel

Sea Carpets

This is rare opportunity to visit the artist in her unusual and fertile workshop, Turbot Island. Hanneke Frenkel has been living with her partner Stefan on the island of Turbot off the coast of Clifden for months at a time for many years. The sea gives up the materials of her work to the island shore and she collects these thousands of meters of fishing rope lost to the ocean from boats and countries far from here. Hanneke started making Sea Carpets, cutting the ropes into loose strings and using the strings to make a pattern, letting her feeling do the work and the ropes decide themselves what kind of carpet they want to become. The variety of colours and quality push her to make another and another and the result is a pile of Sea Carpets that reflect her love of the ocean and the island. This exhibition includes a tour of the island and the opportunity to forage for lost things in a place rarely visited by tourists.

Boat Trip to Turbot leaves from the Boat Club at Clifden Beach and is weather dependent.

Travellers are recommended to wear appropriate clothing and travel at their own risk.


  • September 17th 10:30 AM
  • September 22nd 12:00 PM
  • September 25th 2:oo PM

Places are limited. To book, please call 086 838 1148

Private arrangements can be made on request.

Tour is 1.5 hours and €20 per person.


Private arrangements can be made to visit the island by contacting 


Selected Works – Séamus Devitt

Seamus Devitt

Seamus Devitt

The Artist Séamus Devitt has been visiting Clifden for over 60 years. “I leave half my soul here”, he says.

In the early 1980s, he was interested in good photography in Connemara, seeking good design and compositions. Friends in Clifden mentioned that there was a school of painting nearby, at Ballinaboy, on the Ballyconneely Road. And so, Séamus took up painting for the first time at age 44.

Dublin-born, with Clare roots, Séamus has been a student for 36 years at the Irish School of Landscape Painting under Kenneth Webb. For ten years while working in Belfast, his tutor was Sarah Sue McNeill at Donaghadee, in County Down, who is also part of the Irish School of Landscaping. He came, when he could, to Connemara for Master Classes in the summers, with Kenneth.

Séamus began in the academic style, but after a time, was more captivated by vibrant colours and, more recently, by form and strong shapes. His preference now is towards minimalism, even cubism. He finds energy from the works of Matisse. Another artist whose style attracts him is the French painter Louis Toffoli (1907-1999), with his overlapping and blending of multiple shapes.

Séamus Devitt is a Redemptorist priest, currently working in the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10. All proceeds from art sales will go to the work of Serve. SERVE is an international development and volunteering organisation supporting impactful programmes that act as a catalyst in transforming the lives of marginalised communities in Africa and Asia.

Tel 085-7112161


Wild Goat Cafe Exhibition – Roger Harrison

While Goat Cafe

A photographic exhibition will take place at the newly-opened Wild Goat Cafe (rear of Furniture College, Letterfrack).

This exhibition celebrates older people in our community who enrich our lives.

In partnership with Positive Ageing Week & FORUM Connemara.

Duration: September 14th-30th, Monday to Friday, 8 AM – 4 PM


Connemara – A Mirror of my soul A collection of seascapes and landscapes. Oil on canvas by Kate Noonan

A self taught artist and a native of Ballinasloe, Kate moved to Galway City aged just 16. Her love of the sea was born along the shores of Galway Bay with trips along the coast forging a lifetime connection to the wild and rugged landscape of Connemara. Having lived in Canada and travelled extensively to some of the most beautiful corners of the world, in her view, the ever-changing beauty of Connemara, with its breathtaking vistas, remains one of the most stunning places in the world. Kate has made Clifden her permanent home, where she works from her studio nestled along the seashore.

In this exhibition Kate has captured the many challenging moods of the seascapes and landscapes which surround her each day, constantly changing due to the extraordinary light unique to Connemara.

Official Opening: Friday 16th September, TBC


Caomhe Mullan Photography Exhibition

Flowers for a sunny day, Hydrangea – Caomhe Mullan

My name is Caomhe Mullan, I’m from Recess, Co. Galway. I have a passion for photography, it’s a great way to show off my creativity and my skills. I only started digital photography in January 2022. I have always been taking photos most of my life and now just developed a passion, a love and something that I would love to build a career on. This is the first time I am part of The Clifden Arts Festival to showcase some of my work.

I am a participant with Want to Work Programme with Forum Connemara. I have been taking photography lessons with a professional photographer Aoife Herriot. I have learned so much from her and learning techniques and just how fantastic photography is.

Instagram: caomhe.mullan_photography



2023 Festival Programme