We are delighted to announce Working Artist Studios’ next exhibition will be the fascinating and captivating show, The Museum of Birds and Beasts, co-created by Tess Leak and Sharon Whooley with the residents of five community hospitals in West Cork. The artists collaborated with the Museum of Country Life, the National Folklore Collection and master basket maker Joe Hogan, exploring the folklore and artefacts from these remarkable national collections to draw on participants’ experiences of working and living in connection with the natural world.
The exhibition will include photographs from the National Folklore Collection, artefacts from the Museum of Country Life and handmade nests by Joe Hogan.
“A museum should work in it’s capacity to reveal the humanity of individuals… In museums we have History, but what we need are stories” Orhan Pamuk.
The Museum of Birds and Beasts opens on Tuesday 11th July and the official opening of exhibition and the book launch will be on Friday 14th July at 5pm. The exhibition continues until Saturday 22nd July 2023 at Working Artist Studios, Ballydehob, West Cork.
The artists visited the hospitals with items from the Museum of Country Life’s handling collection; everything from donkey collars and horse blankets to súgán ropes. These evocative, beautifully crafted objects sparked many lively conversations and the resulting collection of stories form the heart of The Museum of Birds and Beasts. “I had a horse called Kit when I was small on East Skeam island. When we bought her, we swam her over from Cunnamore point. Kit would do all the ploughing for setting potatoes.You’d first have to harrow the ground to break it up. On East Skeam you could hear a mouth organ being played on Heir Island.” Mary Dwyer.
Tess Leak and Sharon Whooley: “Our museum-form projects become sites of inclusion, gathering a community’s collective and unique experiences.We were very inspired by the Schools’ Collection of notebooks which are part of the National Folklore Collection at UCD (duchas.ie).These were compiled by pupils from 5,000 primary schools in the Irish Free State between 1937 and 1939 and were an unquantifiable resource for us, full of fascinating animal and bird stories and cures.The collection at the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar was another wonderfully inspiring place, full to the rafters of items and artefacts to do with rural life in Ireland.
Joe Hogan’s baskets and hand made nests have both a familiarity and otherness that resonated with the artists and this quote from him was important: “My work is prompted by a desire to develop a deeper connection to the natural world – I want to evoke some of the feelings of joy and wonder which might accompany the finding of nests in the wild.”
The Museum of Birds and Beasts opens on Tuesday 11th July and all are welcome to the exhibition and book launch on Friday 14th July at 5pm. The exhibition continues until Saturday 22nd July 2023.