CO MAYO, IRELAND.
An exhibition of works from the Collections of Mayo County Council, South Tipperary County Council and the Irish Museum of Modern Art
opens to the public on Friday 14 August 2009 at the Ballina Arts Centre, Ballina, Co Mayo. Altered Images includes work by artists Thomas Brezing, David Creedon, Alice Maher, Caroline McCarthy and Abigail OBrien, with especially commissioned works by Amanda Coogan and Daphne Wright. The exhibition will be officially opened by Aidan Dunne, Art Critic, The Irish Times, on Thursday 13 August 2009.
Accessible, interactive and inclusive in ethos, Altered Images aims to stimulate engagement with the visual arts for the general public and particularly for people with disabilities. The idea that a visual art exhibition should be accessible to all is not a new one, most museums and galleries have an access programme that enables people with disabilities to experience art works. However, the idea of selecting an entire exhibition with an emphasis on accessibility in a multi-dimensional way is relatively new in Ireland . The exhibition aims to enhance peoples engagement with the works through the tactility of relief models, by listening to the audio and artists descriptions and by viewing the sign language interpretation by Amanda Coogan.
Altered Images works on many levels. Firstly, curatorial decisions were taken to ensure a cohesive body of work. The selected works all make reference to classical or art historical sources either in the method of depiction or their subject matter. While each of the partner organisations has very different Collection s in terms of capacity and the period of time they have been collecting, it was agreed at the outset that each would be represented equally. Each art work is accompanied by a multi-sensory display in order to provide meaningful access. In addition, an audio CD and Braille documentation of the large-print exhibition catalogue are available on request. Sign language tours are available by arrangement and an accessible website for the project can be found at www.alteredimages.ie
Padraig Naughton, Director, Arts and Disability Ireland has commented on the exhibition in the accompanying catalogue; What makes Altered Images an advance on what has gone before in an Irish context is the curation of a whole exhibition that has a multi-sensory approach to access thus having an inclusive appeal that will reach the widest audience possible. While in my reflections I have concentrated predominantly on my access requirements as a visually impaired person, Altered Images intends to provide access solutions that are cross-impairment while simultaneously creating an exhibition of equal interest and accessibility to a non-disabled audience. Consequently encouraging disabled people and their families and friends to come and explore the exhibition together. Furthermore it will for example allow people who are blind or deaf to explore the conceptual nature of visual and sound art along side non-disabled people.
Altered Images continues until 30 September 2009 at the Ballina Arts Centre. Altered Images was shown at South Tipperary County Museum from 20 June to 5 August 2009, and will tour to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2010.