t the exhibition and celebration event in Longford Library on Monday, December 18 to mark the United Nations International Migrants’ Day were front row l to r; Shauna Doherty, Luke Danniells, Felicia
A celebratory event was held in Longford Library on Monday, December 18 to mark the United Nations International Migrants’ Day.
The event also recognised the creative talents of members of the new communities living in the town and to acknowledge the work undertaken by different agencies and groups who support and develop that creativity.
The event focused on the artistic and photographic work undertaken by residents of the Richmond Court direct provision centre for asylum seekers.
One resident, Nasir Mohamed Suliman Elsafi, exhibited some of his paintings and five residents exhibited their photographic work.
The art exhibition was officially opened by Gary Robinson from Engage Longford, an artists' group who set out to break down barriers as to how people think about art and to introduce people from all backgrounds to the different art disciplines.
Gary spoke about Nasir's use of colour and form and how it was reflective of Sudanese culture and history. He referenced his pen and ink drawings and noted that Nasir's draughtsmanship was skilful and showed his confidence in his craft.
He stated that the work is raw, unpolished and not photographic; it is fully expressive and speaks a universal language that crosses barriers and opens up a conversation about what art can be.
The second part of the event was the result of photography classes for residents of Richmond Court which were provided by Longford/Westmeath Education and Training Board’s Community Education Service.
What started as a beginners' course in photography progressed to a certified course over a number of months. Five learners ultimately achieved a QQI Level 3 Certificate in Digital Photography.
On the day certificates were presented to Oyeyemi Onipede, Abdul Wahab Khan and Malik Amir by Shauna Doherty, Adult Education Officer with LWETB.
Speaking at the presentation, their tutor Luke Danniells, had great praise for the students and said they had all shown their individualism and had an eye for detail. Luke outlined that, as a teacher, he never tells students what photographs to take, and their only instructions are to not take an obvious photograph and to use the camera creatively.
This resulted in the three students taking quite different perspectives in their photographs, one used the technique of 'the frame in a frame', another took an abstract approach and the third took his images at a low angle, all of which are key techniques in good photography composition.
The ceremony was hosted by Longford Librarian Mary Carleton Reynolds and was attended by representatives of the Richmond Court Centre, the Community Gardaí, Longford Community Resources, Longford Volunteer Centre, Engage Longford and LWETB.
The exhibition was on display until Friday, December 22 and it is hoped that it was the first of many such exhibitions.
In the meantime, Engage Longford are in the process of developing artists' studies in the centre of the town, so the future looks good for inclusive art in Longford.