Monday, June 20, 2022

By Paul O’Malley

A unique and inspirational art exhibition was launched at Ballina Arts Centre recently.

Exploring New Mediums: An Exhibition of New works from the Art and Movement Group Ballina Arts Centre with members of Down Syndrome Mayo, Back row L-R Michelle Wei, Hannah Dunford and Ellen Black. front row Alice Dixon Visual artist Facilitator and Kathryn O’Dowd. Picture: John O’Grady.

‘Exploring New Mediums’ consists of new work created by six young people who have Down Syndrome, as part of their Art and Movement Group for Cruinniú na nÓg, a day of free creativity for children and young people.

The artists were guided and directed in the creative process by mentor and teacher Alice Dixon, who told the Western People how ‘Exploring New Mediums’ came together.

Artist Rory Killeen at the launch of the exhibition. Picture: John O’Grady.

“This group formed in 2019 and I have been working with them since, and they have really grown in their abilities and techniques since then. They are aged between nine and 18 and this is their second year creating a project for Cruinniú na nÓg,” explained Alice.“This is an opportunity to celebrate their creativity and share it with other people.”

Alice said that giving everyone the opportunity to get involved with the creative process is so important.

“Creativity is for everybody and is one of the most inclusive things that people can do. It has no boundaries and allows for people’s family and friends and the wider public to see who these artists really are through their creativity,” she said. “It is a nice avenue to allow that to happen. It is a massive privilege for me to work with these young people and I can see that a lot of these young people will continue to be artists into the future.”

Artist Michelle Wei and her family at the launch of the exhibition. Picture: John O’Grady.

She said she felt immense pride to see the exhibition open.

“It is a courageous thing to share your artwork and for me to be able to give these young people the opportunity to share this with their parents, family and friends, and the wider public, it is extremely moving.”

The ‘Exploring New Mediums’ exhibition will run for the remainder of the month and into July at the Ballina Arts Centre.

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