An Gailearai

Inis Bó Finne

An Gailearai
Inis Bó Finne

Inis Bó Finne

Tá Cathal Mac Fhionnghaile, as Dún na nGall, ina ealaíontóir suntasach in earnáil ealaíne an chontae. Mar ealaíontóir, tá sé cruthanta: éagoitinne, solabharthacht fhíseach agus marc-chruthaíocht iontach. Is é an rud a chuireann ar leith leis féin é go háirithe ná á chleachtas ealaíne iomasach. Tugann á mhodheolaíocht oidhreacht, béaloideas, dinnsheanchas agus grá dá theanga agus dá phobal oileánach. Tá cuid oibre Chathail i gcomhréir le ‘dúchas’ – is ó nadúr agus ón oidhreacht araon a thagann sé agus ag an am céanna tá sé go hiomlán comhaimseartha; aosta agus nua-aimseartha ag an am amháin.

Is as Inis Bó Finne Cathal Mac Fhionnghaile; tháinig sé ar an tsaol nuair a bhí á theaghlach ina gcónaí ar an oileán ag an am ach tógadh é i Machaire Rabhartaigh, ag amharc amach ar bhaile a theaghlaigh. Fuair Cathal á chéim i Sligeach agus ina dhiaidh sin fuair sé MAFA in Ollscoil Uladh. I rith a chuid oideachais fhoirmeálta, choinnigh Cathal ‘grá’ dá bhaile agus dá chuid daoine, dá chustaim agus dá oidhreachta. Tá an comhshamhlú seo ag tarlú le níos mó ná míle bliain, tugtha anuas agus anuas agus anuas go dtí sa deireadh go bhfaigheann an t-ealaíontóir é agus go ndéanann sé é feiceálach de bharr a léiriú féin. Is céadfacht oileánaigh atá aige agus tá an mana uathúil seo le feiceáil sa taispeántas seo.

Meitheal Líníochta

Ar na mallaibh, bhí taispeántas ag Cathal Mac Fhionnghaile sa Lár-Ionad Cultúrtha Réigiúnach, Leitir Ceanainn, mar chuid d’Fhéile Ealaíon an Earagail 2018 agus i láthair na huaire tá sé ina ealaíontóir cónaithe ansin. Tá An Gailearaí ag comhoibriú anois le Cathal le dornán blianta agus dhírigh a chuid oibre leis an ghailearaí ar an smaoineadh ‘Meitheal’ nó ‘foireann oibre ’siocair gurb é sin an téarma Gaeilge a shainmhíníonn comharghrúpa pobail ag oibriú i dtreo aidhm choitianta, gníomh do chabhair comharsanúil agus comhoibritheach. Tá an coincheap sóisialta seo neadaithe inár gcomhfheasa Gaelach agus baineann Cathal úsáid as an cur chuige seo ní amháin mar mhodheolaíochta nádúrtha dá chleachtas ach fosta mar bhealach le bheith rannpháirteach lena phobal féin agus an lucht féachána araon.

Athghabháil

Seasann Athghabháil do athshealbhú, athghabháil, athearraíocht agus athdhéanamh. Taispeánann na ‘rudaí a fuarthas’ ar chladaí Inis Bó Finne athshealbhú go meafarach ar oidhreacht. Lena chois sin, tá siad ina ráiteas ar scriosadh na sochaí ar ár bhfarraigí le bruscar plaisteach, ar a dtugtar i nGaeilge ‘adill’ – ‘rud a shnámhann ar uisce’. Ina n-athshealbhú, ceiliúrann an t-ealaíontóir chomh maith na scileanna nádúrtha a bhfuil pobal an oileáin feasach orthu, macasamhail iascaireacht agus a leithéidí, atá mínithe go dtí mothálacht nua-aoiseach. Ar ndóigh, tá siad ina ráiteas fosta ar staid an duine: tig gága orainn, bristear muid, éiríonn muid gan mhaith – mar sin féin, tig linn cneasú agus a bheith slán arís ach ar dhóigh eile.

Bothóg

Séard is ‘bothóg’ ann ná foscadh sealadach fóid a mbaineadh na daoine a bhíodh ag amharc i ndiaidh eallach agus caoirigh i rith séasúr an tsamhraidh úsáid as. Ar an drochuair, le linn an díshealbhaithe agus i ndiaidh an Ghorta Mhóir, b’iad na foscaí tanaí seo an t-aon rogha cóiríochta a bhí ar fáil do na daoine a díshealbhú. Tugadh ‘buailteachas’ orthu fosta, ón fhocal ‘buaile’ agus tá na focail seo go léir, ar a n-áirítear ainm an oileáin, bainteach le ‘seanchas na bó’. Is féidir ‘bothóg’ a fheiceáil chomh maith mar áit do dhuine amháin nó áit uaighneach, áit faoi choinne machnamh nó tearmann a dhéanamh agus meallann seo an t-ealaíontóir. Déanann Cathal an bhothóg a shuíomh mar áit tearmainn. Agus é ag cur na hoibre seo le chéile, d’fhill Cathal tonnaí dramhpháipéar arís agus arís eile le horagámaí modúlach – gníomh machnamhach, aonarach, fada. Lena chois sin, tá a dheaslámhacht agus a rogha modh déantúis ina aitheantas ar a cheardaíocht oilte, bua agus cumas a bhfuil sé rannpháirteach ann ó bhí sé óg. De bharr athghabháil a dhéanamh ar á oidhreacht agus míniú nua-aimseartha a chumrú, tugadh muidinne, an lucht féachana, ar dhóigh éigin chuig ‘buailteachas’ – áit ina bhfuil an t-ealaíontóir ina chónaí go sábháilte chun é féin cloisint níos soiléire. I dtaca le ‘Botháin na bhFear’, is é seo feiniméin eile atá ag fás, freagra comhaimseartha sóisialta agus pobail ar an ghá atá le dlúthchaidreamh, cibé mar chomharghrúpa nó go haonarach.

Tá cuid oibre Chathail Mhic Fhionnghaile sothuigthe, loighciúil agus líofa. Mar ealaíontóir, tá ‘An tSúil Shoiléir’ aige: feiceann an t-ealaíontóir go soiléir an rud a bhfuil dearmad air. Tá ‘feiscint’ aige, tchí sé thar an rud nach nach bhfeiceann muidinne, na gnáth dhaoine. Is é seo ealáiontóir ‘comhaid’ físe comhaimseartha.

Úna Campbell
An Gailearaí
Meán Fómhair 2018

 

Inis Bó Finne

Donegal artist Cathal McGinley is a significant player in the county’s art scene. As an artist he is the real deal; originality, visual eloquence and stunning mark-making. What sets him apart from many others in particular is his intuitive artistic practice. His methodology combines heritage, folklore, dinnsheanchas and a love of his language and island community. Cathal’s work is attuned to ‘dúchas’ – it is both instinct and heritage and yet at the same time utterly contemporary; simultaneously ancient and modern.

Cathal McGinley is ‘of’ Inis Bó Finne; he was born whilst his family were still living on the island but was raised in Magheroarty overlooking his family’s home place. Cathal obtained his degree in Sligo and later his MAFA in University of Ulster. Throughout this formal education Cathal maintained a ‘gra’ for his home place and its people, customs and heritage. This assimilation has happened over millennia, handed down and down and down, eventually reaching this artist who digests it and makes it visible through his own interpretation. His sensibility is that of an islander and this unique perspective is demonstrated here in this exhibition.

Meitheal Líníochta

Cathal McGinley has recently exhibited in the Regional Culture Centre, Letterkenny as part of Earagail Arts Festival 2018 and is currently artist-in-residence there. An Gailearaí has worked with Cathal over a number of years now and his work with the gallery has centred on the idea of ‘Meitheal’ or ‘work team ’as it is the Irish term that denotes a community collective working towards a common goal, an act of neighbourly help and cooperation. This social concept is imbedded in our Irish consciousness and Cathal utilises this approach not just as an instinctive methodology for his practice but also as a way to include and engage with his both his own community and the audience.

Athghabháil

Athghabháil denotes repossession, re-appropriation, repurposing, reconstruction. The ‘found objects’ from the shores of Inis Bó Finne metaphorically demonstrate a repossession of heritage. They are also a comment on society’s destruction of our seas with plastic rubbish, known in Irish as ‘adill’ – ‘stuff that floats in’. In repossessing them, the artist also celebrates the native skills familiar to the island community such as fishing and the like that have been honed to a modern sensibility. They are of course also a comment on the human condition; we develop cracks, we get broken, we become useless – yet, we can heal and become whole again, differently.

Bothóg

A ‘bothóg’ is a small temporary sod shelter used to accommodate those caring for cattle and sheep during the summer season. Sadly, during the evictions and post famine, these flimsy shelters became the only accommodation option available to the dispossessed. They were also known as ‘buailteachas’ from the word ‘buale’ and all of these words, including the island’s name, are associated with ‘cow-lore’. The ‘bothóg’ can also been seen as a solitary or lonely place, a place of meditation or retreat and this appeals to the artist. Cathal has positioned the bothóg as a place of refuge. In constructing this work Cathal has repeatedly folded tonnes of waste paper by modular origami – a meditative, solitary, aeonian act. His dexterity and his chosen method of construction is recognition too of the artist’s skilled craftsmanship, a talent and an aptitude he has engaged with since childhood. In repossessing his heritage and configuring a contemporary interpretation we, the audience, have in a way been brought to a ‘buailteachas’ – a transhumant place, a place where the artist resides protected in order to hear himself more clearly. The growing phenomena of ‘Men’s Sheds’ is another contemporary social and community response to the need to commune, whether collectively or solitary.

Cathal McGinley’s work is articulate, coherent and fluid. As an artist he has ‘An tSúil Shoiléir’, clear sight; the artist sees clearly what is being forgotten. He has ‘feiscint’, he sees beyond what we ordinary folk don’t register. This artist is a contemporary visual ‘file’.

Úna Campbell
An Gailearaí
September 2018