Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Ráiteas an Ealaíontóra:
Is léargas ar imirce na hÉireann sa 21ú céad atá sa tsaothar nua seo. Sraith pictiúr atá ann ar theallaigh fuara folmha i dtithe tréigthe ar chósta thiar na hÉireann. Ba é dán le Cathal Ó Searcaigh, darb ainm "Na Bailte Bánaithe", a spreag an dán faoin dóigh a ghnáthaíonn spioraid an tír, na céadta bliain i ndiaidh na daoine a chónaigh san áit a bheith imithe. Chaith mé roinnt ama i nGaeltacht Dhún na nGall le blianta beaga anuas ag cuartú agus ag sirtheoireacht fríd na háitribh aosta atá luaite sa dán.
Cuireadh i gcuimhne dom cé chomh tábhachtach is a bhí áit na tine don teach cónaithe, an dóigh ina gcoinníodh daoine an tine lasta ar fud na hóiche agus ar fud na bliana, agus an dóigh ina raibh sé i ndáiríre mar ‘theallach’ an tí chónaithe. Dá mbeadh daoine ag bogadh a mbaile, bhéarfadh siad fód móna lasta leo ón seanteach le tine a lasadh sa teach úr chun nach mbriseadh siad an ciorcal. Bhí sé ina chruachás go leor ag feiceáil na teallaigh tréigthe seo, gach ceann acu lena phearsantacht ar leith féin, agus chuaigh mé i mbun sraith pictiúr a dhéanamh mar chineál éagnairc daofa sin a bhí imithe, cuimhneachán ar an diaspóra.
Ach, cén áit a dteachaidh siad nó cad é a d’éirigh daofa? Ar éag siad nó an ndearna siad saol níos fearr daofa féin áit éigin eile? Cibé rud, tá an tír seo i bhfadh níos boichte mar gheall ar a gcaillteanas. Tá an dara sraith péintéireachta ag léiriú spéarthaí folmha, samhailchomhartha domsa ar na féidearthachtaí agus gealltanas ar shaol úrnua.
Eoin Mac Lochlainn
This new body of work is a reflection on Irish emigration in the 21st century. It is a series of paintings of abandoned fireplaces in derelict houses on the West coast of Ireland. It was inspired by a poem by Cathal Ó Searcaigh entitled: "Na Bailte Bánaithe", a poem about how spirits haunt the land, long after the people who lived there have gone. I spent some time in the Donegal Gaeltacht during the last few years, searching for and exploring the old homesteads that were mentioned in the poem.
I was reminded of how central the fireplace was to the home, how people used to keep the fire going throughout the night and throughout the year, and how it really was the ‘hearth’ of the home. If people were moving home, they would take a lighting sod of turf with them from the old house to begin the fire in the new house, so as not to break the cycle. Seeing these abandoned fireplaces, each with its own distinctive personality, was quite distressing and I undertook the series of paintings as a sort of requiem for those who had gone, a commemoration of the diaspora.
But where had they gone or what had become of them? Had they perished or had they built a better life for themselves somewhere else? Whatever the case, this country is so much the poorer for their loss. The second series of paintings is of empty skies, symbolising for me the possibilities and promise of a new life.
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