10 Aug 2022

Visionary art project to link Clonmel to river amenity

Visionary art project to link Clonmel to river amenity

Lily Egan, Clara O’Brien and Lucy Fenton were among a number of schoolchildren from Clonmel schools who took part in a collaborative art project in a Clonmel laneway.

Shelmaden’s Lane is a narrow meandering lane at the side of Pennys off O’ Connell Street leading to the Quay.
There are as many theories as to the derivation of this intriguing name as to the number of ways it has been spelt.
Some say it is French in origin, while others subscribe to the fanciful theory that it has something to do with ‘shielding a maiden’.
Tipperary County Council wanted to deliver a creative, but functioning lighting proposal to Shelmadens Lane.
The laneway links the River Suir (and the car park adjacent to the Suir) to the main street in Clonmel.
Detailed designs are currently been drawn up for the Suir Island Bridge – the link from the Quay to Suir Island and when this comes to fruition, Shelmadens Lane will be in a prime location to cater for the increased footfall from Suir Island into the main streets.

Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly (School of Looking) who were involved in the project are visual artists and architects, who often work with communities to make art that is illuminated and publicly visible.
They were commissioned by Tipperary County Council to design and install a creative lighting art project in Shelmaden’s Lane, which links the River Suir to O’Connell Street.

Given Clonmel’s origins as the Vale of Honey, and their recent artistic research into how different creatures see in their School of Looking series of artworks, they decided to create a piece that explored bee vision through drawing.
This is a fascinating subject, as bees see UV light, and flowers look very different to bees.
The artwork is called See like a Bee, and has brightly coloured murals lit by Ultra Violet lights, to try to help people understand how bees see.
The artists wanted to include lots of bees flying through the colours, and were delighted to ask children from Clonmel schools to help draw the bees.

Originally planning to visit schools for workshops, the plans were derailed by Covid but nevertheless Clonmel schools stepped up.
The participating child artists drew and coloured their bees, took a photograph to sent to their teacher who forwarded it to the artists via Clonmel Junction Arts Festival.

Both drawing from their imagination or from a picture on the web used as a model, there is a wonderful range of artwork created by children as young as junior infants and also by Transition Years.
The launch took place on recently with the Mayor of Clonmel Cllr Michael Murphy, the organising artists, staff from Tipperary County Council and the teachers and children from some of the participating schools.

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