4 June 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Foggy Notions & Cork Midsummer present Places of Comfort
Maija Sofia June 23rd @ 8pm www.corkmidsummer.com
Curated by Leagues O’Toole
“For the Places of Comfort project I invited three artists living in or native to Cork to create new work based on the idea of a place they were drawn to during the lockdown periods of the COVID-19 pandemic when our movements in Ireland were restricted to a 5km radius and many of us found ourselves moving in circles or loops, rethreading certain routes, and observing the same local landmarks.
In some circumstances, through the limitations we lived under we found ourselves rediscovering or more closely examining where we lived, the infrastructure of the nature and the land most immediately around our doorstep. The impact of the restrictions and the pause of activity and sense of claustrophobia – and in some cases intense loneliness – brought huge mental challenges for many people. At times, I felt myself and probably others were drawn to certain spots to find a place of reflection or comfort, a place were I could breathe for a few minutes and distract myself from the anxiety of the uncertainty of the pandemic.
I have always valued artists as the individuals in our society best equipped to articulate social anxieties, moods and change. Through this expression we can relate, connect and feel comforted in one another’s shared experience. I asked three artists whose work was grounded in music but very much drew upon other disciplines of visual art and literature to facilitate and elaborate on the concepts and narratives of their work. The first artist I invited was Maija Sofia from Galway. Maija spent much time in Cork during this period, often in residence and working on new projects. She instantly responded to my challenge with great enthusiasm as I anticipated. I’m excited to share this commissioned work with you for Cork Midsummer Festival.” – Leagues O’Toole
Maija Sofia is a songwriter and artist who works between the overlapping worlds of sound, performance and text. Her work is led by what is intuitively felt over what is intellectually known, and through various forms she explores the realms of the mystic, the feminine, the folkloric and the ecological. She is from rural Galway and is of mixed Irish, Finnish and Turkish-Cypriot heritage. Her debut album, Bath Time, was shortlisted for the Choice Award album of year in 2019 and she was a recipient of the arts council of Ireland’s Next Generation award in 2020.