Cork based artists commissioned for Douglas community engagement artwork

11 December 2020
By Tom Collins

‘A Per Cent for Art’ Commission has been awarded to two Cork based textile artists as part of the reopening of Douglas Library. Artists Carmel Creaner and Anne Kiely were awarded the commission by Cork City Libraries and Cork City Council Arts Office. Their proposal takes its inspiration from the historic textile industry of the Douglas and includes a strong community engagement element as its basis.

Carmel Creaner and Anne Kiely will engage with the community by reaching out across the generations through schools and nursing homes to discover the importance of the industry to the area in the past. The finished product, a textile wall hanging, will be installed in March 2021.

Students from St Columba’s and Eglantine National schools will interact with residents in St Luke’s Nursing Home and Marymount Hospice, both online and through written letters. The children will prepare for their engagement with the older residents by watching the Cork Community Television documentary ‘Douglas a village wrapped in cloth’.

Patricia Looney, Cork City Libraries said: ‘The collaborative response by Carmel Creaner and Anne Kiely is exactly what we were looking for in this commission. Many older people have been very isolated during Covid-19 and the engagement piece of this proposal addresses this in a very positive way, enhancing the well-being of those in nursing homes. We look forward to installing the artwork and hope that it will be enjoyed by the people of Douglas and beyond for many years to come.’

The artists will engage with the residents in St Luke’s and Marymount through a presentation of images and songs to trigger memories of Cork and encourage the older people to chat. Familiar imagery will encourage residents to share personal experiences from the old days. The presentation will take the form of a short movie which can be replayed with a mill-based song Aragon Mill by Si Kahn played in the background. Activity coordinators for the nursing homes will also invite residents to share memories of Douglas and the Mills.

Mairín Cronin, Activities co-ordinator Marymount Hospice said: “At this time, it is imperative that residents of nursing homes continue to have an active presence in the community. I particularly like the intergenerational aspect of the programme. Bringing the young and not so young together through the arts is of great benefit.”

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