Extensions Art Exhibition Reflection By Fintan O'Byrne
I have always loved art. It is not something I can separate from myself and from what I do. And so, it was very exciting to have had the opportunity to work with Arekibo on organising a new exhibition of paintings and prints entitled Extensions in aid of Jigsaw - the National Centre for Youth Mental Health. "Extensions" is an art exhibition that pulled together several strands, from the personal to the professional (with the involvement of Arekibo) to the social (through the association with Jigsaw). The exhibition, with 2 years of art making behind it, presented 19 paintings and prints exploring a cross-section of ideas and ways of representing those ideas.
"Last Of His Kind" at the Extensions Art Exhibition.
The event was also a wonderful opportunity to bring people together in a relaxed atmosphere at the Copper House Gallery, a real hidden gem in the city centre. Among the attendees, was Brent Pope, who has strong ties to art as well as mental health advocacy and who said some words, sharing his own personal journey both in relation to art and mental health with those present with both candour and honesty.
Brent Pope speaking to the Extensions attendees.
The Copper House gallery with its different spaces and corners facilitated an arrangement of the artwork into groupings of related work. Taken together, the 19 pieces in the exhibition represent an attempt to take in the world around me, whether inspired by my immediate physical environment, personal life or from media or internet content consumption. Through the experience of preparing this exhibition, I have come to see painting and drawing as an act of faith, that the process by which I have tried to make something of these images with myself, can be repeated in different ways by others, who can, in turn, make something of it with her or his own personal story, sensibility and experience. I am so grateful to all who came to the event, shared their feedback and to those who purchased work at the event.
The event would also not have been possible without the kind sponsorship of Arekibo and the support of all in Arekibo. As I mentioned, art is not something I can separate from myself and from what I do, and I am lucky to work with a team of people that do not see any such separations. With all of these things in play, it is extremely satisfying to be able to donate 30% of proceeds from sales of works from this collection to Jigsaw. The money will contribute to Jigsaw’s evolving digital strategy building on and complimenting their existing essential front-line services.