Earlier this year, as Noelle Lynskey, Director of Shorelines Arts Festival, was on her daily walk in Portumna’s Forest Park and Castle, she met many fellow walkers. As they exchanged pleasantries, Noelle noted that everyone had the same opening phrase about the joy of the nature. “Only for this, we’d never survive this lockdown.”
As Noelle was dreaming up notions for projects that would engage with both the community and artists, these words resonated with her and by the time she got her dogs home, the seed of the project was hatched.
Early in the summer, the local community and beyond were asked to submit a photo of the place, thing, person or moment that stood out for them during the past 18 months. The response was as varied as it was numerous and with over a hundred photos to hand, a selection were shortlisted by an independent photographer.
Shorelines then engaged with a selection of writers who previously participated at the festival and commissioned a 20 line piece of prose/poetry in response to a randomly selected photo from the shortlist. All accepted the challenge, as did the local writers invited, including members of Portumna Pen Pushers.
With the discerning eye of Abby Bolt of Little Bird Design, the exhibition of each new piece of writing and the matching photograph will be exhibited at an outdoor exhibition in September as part of the Shorelines 2021 programme.
Only For This will line the walkway between Portumna Castle and it’s Café and Gallery and will also be found in the car park of Portumna Forest Park as well as pop-ups in windows and railings around the town. It is anticipated that the exhibition will be in place for a few weeks.
With writers like Donal Ryan, Geraldine Mills, Stephen James Smith, Geraldine Mitchell and James Harpur involved, this project has married the Shorelines vision for community participation with the commitment to support Ireland’s professional artists.
As a thank you to all who submitted, a collage of all the submitted photographs will also be displayed on the streets of Portumna.
Shorelines would like to thank all who participated and to acknowledge the support from the Arts Council of Ireland and Galway Co. Council Arts Office.