Paul Cotter

Aislingí na Rossan — Kate Doogan

Paul Cotter
Aislingí na Rossan — Kate Doogan

Aislingí na Rossan

The Spirit of the Rosses

Kate Doogan

Is ‘den’ fharraige í Kate Doogan, ealaíontóir a bhfuil cónaí uirthi in Ailt an Chorráin. Ta dúchas na farraige go smior inti. Tháinig teaghlach a hathar go léir as Inis Caorach, oileán cothrom lom píosa beag amach ó thír mór, áit a raibh an aimsir chomh tíoránta sin gurbh éigean do bhunadh an oileáin ballaí treisithe a thógáil chun iad féin a chosaint ón tsíon. Nuair a bhí sí ina naíonán, chaith Kate sé mhí ar Inis Mhic an Doirn lena hathair, a bhíodh ag giollacht caorach agus ag iascaireacht – ba ise an leanbh deireanach a chónaigh ar an oileán. Níos moille, i rith a cuid scolaíochta, is iomaí turas iascaireachta a rinne sí in éineacht lena hathair. Chomh maith leis sin, tá an ceol san fhuil ag Kate agus tá sí oilte ar an bhosca ceoil. Tá cuid mhór duaiseanna buaite aici as a cuid ceoil agus tá clú agus cáil uirthi ar fud Dhún na nGall. I ndiaidh do Kate pósadh, thug a cuid ceoil í go Londain, go dtí an Astráil agus go Singeapór.

Ach sa deireadh thiar thall, agus de thairbhe spreagadh óna máthair agus a deirfiúr, d’fhill Kate ar mhian a croí – an ealaín. Níor tharla sé seo go dtí mí Mheithimh 2005 agus ar an tséala sin, tá suntas mór ag baint leis an saothar atá curtha i gcrích aici san am gairid sin. Cé gur fhreastail Kate ar dhornán ranganna oíche áitiúla, go bunúsacha tá sí féinmhúinte. Ba bheag aird a bhí aici ar nithe a chuirfeadh am amú, macasamhail ‘am de dhíth chun an dóigh le péint a úsáid a fhoghlaim’. Tá a ceird sa dúchas innti. Tá sé intuigthe ón rabharta paiseanta saothair seo go bhfuil ballaí cosanta a hoileáin chruthaitheach tugtha anuas ag Kate.

Ní de thaisme atá a meon inmheánach cruthaitheach thar a bheith láidir – is de bhunadh láidir oileáin í Kate agus ní hiontas ar bith go bhfuil íomhá na farraige in iomlán a cuid péintéireachta. Cuireann a saothar bunaidh forrán ar an tírdhreach – ag fáil aithne air agus ag rá ‘caidé mar atá tú, a fharraige’? Ó thaobh na cruthaitheachta de, tá cuairteanna tugtha aici ar chuanta agus ar bhánna éagsúla agus tuairisciú déanta aici orthu ina cuid canbhás, ag athnuachaint a gaol le háiteanna aithnidiúla. Sa tslí sin, tig leis an ealaíontóir a teanga inmheánach chruthaitheach féin a ‘chluinstin’ and cur in iúl shoiléir a dhéanamh uirthi ansin. Tá an bád ina chomhartha tábhachtach; i dtús báire tá sé ar ancaire i bhfarraigí ciúine, ansin seolann sé amach go bánna agus ar aghaidh leis amach níos faide go dtí an fharraige mhór. Spéisiúil go leor, níl an bád chomh tábhachtach sin sa saothar is déanaí de chuid Kate. Tá brí agus beocht i bhfuinneamh Kate, táirgeann sí flúirse saothar agus, go cruthaitheach , d’fhéadfadh sí seoladh go cuan ar bith. Ach tá rud amháin cinnte dearfa, sé sin go bhfreagraíonn an t-ealaíontóir seo go paiseanta dá bia cothaithe cruthaitheach – soláthar geallta gan teora den chontanam síoraí d’fharraigí scáthánacha spéire.

 

Kate Doogan

Burtonport artist Kate Doogan is ‘of’ the sea, it is in her experience, her bones and her psyche. Her father’s family all came from Inis Caora, the island of the sheep, a flat, bleak island just off the mainland. So harsh were the conditions that the islanders had to build reinforcement walls to protect themselves against the elements. As a baby Kate spent six months on Rutland Island with her parents fishing – she was the last baby to live on the island. Subsequently, she spent a lot of time in and on the water. Kate is also an accomplished accordion player, again, music is in her bones. She has received numerous awards for her music and is well known in Donegal. After Kate got married music took her to London, Australia and Singapore.

Eventually, and encouraged by her mother and sister and friends, Kate returned to her unattended passion – art. This was only in June 2005 and the body of work she has produced in this short time is remarkable. Whilst Kate attended a few local night classes she is essentially self-taught. Time consuming and delaying distractions such as ‘needing time to learn how to use the paint’ were of little concern. Her craft is innate. This passionate outpouring of work confirms that the Kate has taken down the protective wall of her creative island.

It is no mistake that her internal creative vision is very strong, Kate comes from a strong island people and not surprisingly the sea features in all her paintings. Her initial works ‘engage’ with her landscape – a getting to know, a saying hello, how are you sea? Creatively, she has visited and recorded various ports and bays in her canvases, re-acquainting herself with strong familiars. In doing so, the artist can ‘hear’ her own internal creative language and in turn articulate it. The boat is a significant symbol, initially it is harnessed in calm waters then it journeys out to bays and on out further to open seas. Interestingly, the boat is not such a significant feature in Kate’s most recent works. Kate’s energy is vibrant and her output prolific and she could creatively sail anywhere. But what is certain is that this artist responds passionately to and has been guaranteed her creative food – an endless supply of the eternal continuum of sky mirrored seas.