Monday, January 18, 2021

A unique work by a Mayo artist is set to feature in the national Herstory Light Show event alongside some of  the leading names in Ireland’s art world.

Ballina’s Mary Coen, who is a daughter of Kieran Coen and the late Dr Marana McLoughlin, graduated from the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dublin with a degree in visual art practice in 2009 and is now based in Rosserk near Killala where she specialises in painting and photography.

The Herstory organisation is dedicated to giving the public authentic female role models and a game-changing egalitarian education programme.

Its annual light show event  sees a selection of Irish heroines honoured in spectacular illuminations on landmark buildings throughout Dublin over  St Brigid’s weekend.

When Mary heard that the remit of the 2021 light show had been extended to include a category called ‘Coronavirus Heroines’ to honour modern Irish women during the pandemic, she instinctively knew who she would feature in her entry:

“My friend Denise Gilroy immediately came to mind. We have known each other since national school and she has been working as a nurse on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic in England. She contracted Covid-19 herself but thankfully came out the other side and became a first time mother on top of all that,” Mary explained, adding that Denise epitomises the struggles that Covid-19 has brought into our lives in the last year:

Mary Coen Herstory

Mary’s portrait of Denise and her daughter which she drew with ink and coloured in digitally.

“She has not been able to get home. Her family has not been able to meet her baby, Saoirse, and yet she is so pragmatic about it all.”

Mary was inspired by the prospect of highlighting real heroines like healthcare workers and mothers and created a striking illustration of Denise and her baby daughter using ink and digital colouring.

The end result will be exhibited as part of the 2021 Herstory Light Show in Dublin on February 1 next .


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