Winter Solstice Exhibition - Lighting The Darkness

Running at the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre to Friday January 13th 2012.

Art-worksA collaborative Arts plus Health exhibition celebrating our rich heritage of light.

Whenever anyone thinks of the shortest day of the year, the 21st of December, they think of the minimum length of time we can enjoy daylight. In County Meath we have another thought, that of the winter's sunlight penetrating into the entrance chamber of one of our many ancient neolithic tombs. This thought that long before the Egyptian Pyramids our ancestors were harnessing the seasonal timing of the sun and using it to precise effect through engineering to create a moment of celebration. A celebration that has continued for over 5000 years.

When considering how to highlight our rich heritage of light I let myself revert to something that always fascinated me from a young age, that of how sunlight can make the leaves of a tree seem transparent. With this image in mind our "Lighting the Darkness" project sets out to showcase this effect. When you think of transparency you think of glass and when you throw art into the mix you enter into the world of stained glass, an art form and craft we have decided to use to highlight the beauty of nature that's on view in and around our most famous neolithic tomb, Newgrange.

On this arts plus health collaborative project we brought together groups from 3 different backgrounds; mental health, acquired brain injury and learning disabilities. Each group looked at the theme of nature and light in a variety of different ways. From the mental health sector we had 3 day centers, Kells, who choose the theme of the fruits of the land, Navan who had chosen the nature they had researched along a walk named the Ramparts that runs beside the river Boyne. Dunshaughlin Day Care Centre chose the theme of the hedge rows of County Meath.

From the acquired brain injury sector we worked with the service users from Brí in Louth and Tallaght. Brí Meath worked on the theme of nature found in and around the meadows that surround Newgrange. Brí Louth created a piece celebrating the worship of the sun and Brí Tallaght looked at the many symbols from across the world that are associated with the sun.

Representing the learning disability sector we had a group of service users from Navan Rehabcare who looked at the plants and fauna that grow along the rivers edge.

All 7 groups will be displaying their pieces of art to the public in the Brú Na Bóinne Visitor Centre in Newgrange, County Meath from Sunday the 18th of December 2011until Friday the 13th of January 2012. They are really looking forward to presenting their work to the public in the visitors centre, on the 21st of December, the Winter Solstice, a very special time of year in the place that gave them the inspiration for their exhibition "Lighting the Darkness".

Mark Smith - Arts Co-ordinator with ArtWorks
A community arts collaborative working to create social inclusion through the arts.

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