5 June 2023
By Tom Collins
The annual undergraduate MTU Crawford College of Art & Design Graduate Exhibitions celebrating the creative practices of CCAD’s graduating students is taking place in MTU’s Sharman Crawford Street and Bishopstown Campuses until Thursday 8th June 2023.
A highlight of Cork’s cultural calendar, the Crawford Graduate Exhibitions feature the work of final-year creatives from all CCAD’s undergraduate programmes: Contemporary Applied Art, Fine Art, Creative Digital Media, Visual Communications and Photography with New Media. The exhibitions provide an excellent platform for graduating students to present their final projects to friends, family, industry and the public, and create an ideal opportunity to spark conversation about their work and raise their professional profiles. The exhibitions showcase a wide range of visual art practices from drawing and painting through textiles, glass, sculpture, photography and film to graphic design, illustration, animation, interactive media design, photography, film, gaming, VR, and video.
Commenting on this year’s cohort of graduates, Rose McGrath, Head of MTU CCAD, said:
“It is clear that all of our students, even with the difficulties they have encountered in having to overcome a pandemic during their degree, have excelled themselves and achieved distinctive and transformational art, design and media. These emerging creatives have embraced the MTU values of being inclusive, engaging, and bold in all they have created. The work produced has undeniably been influenced by global crisis and change. It also shows that this is an exciting time for the production of art, design and creative media as new challenges and circumstances in our world have, for many, caused the work to take unforetold directions”.
As in previous years, the Crawford Graduate Exhibitions feature many striking visual artworks with strong social and cultural themes. Jenny Fitzgerald, who is graduating from CCAD’s Fine Art programme, was inspired to create her final year project, ‘Cumann na mBan’, based on her research on the establishment of Cumann na mBan and Inghinidhe na hÉireann and the stories of courageous women who fought and supported the Irish free state movement such as Countess Markovich, Ada English, and Mary MacSwiney. Jenny’s series recreates Sean Keating’s iconic ‘Men of the South’ by replacing the soldiers with these brave women but with vague facial features referencing the ways the women worked and how they were seen. The series is aimed at highlighting these women’s actions and recognising their contributions and roles while being aware of how they have been hidden from the limelight of our history. Jenny’s work explores the loss of identity, historical inaccuracy of a patriarchal system and the role women played in a suppressive Irish society during a revolution.
The vast number of derelict sites in her surrounding area and a strong urge to highlight the issue inspired Melanie Mc Grath, who is graduating from the Fine Art programme, to create her final year project, ‘The Blight of Dereliction’. Site-orientated research led Melanie to liminal spaces around Cork City such as properties on Barrack Street, Father Mathew Street, Evergreen Street and Albert Road. Working in such sites, Melanie gathers text and imagery from the property itself either sprayed on a wall or words gathered from found content. Graffiti, marks, imprints, and layers act as a sketchbook of ideas for further work. Melanie then uses building material to create an immersive installation that recreates a site within a studio space, capturing the energy of the city.
Carmel Horgan, who is graduating from the Creative Digital Media programme, combined her interests in eLearning, Graphic Design, User Experience Design and Animation to create an Augmented Reality (AR) jigsaw puzzle as an educational tool for children for her final year project. Carmel’s creation, Jigs and Reels, is a jigsaw puzzle activity that uses AR to help with learning for visual/spatial and interpersonal learners in the primary school classroom. The jigsaw puzzle pieces act as image targets that when scanned play an animation and audio through AR that hints at the piece’s correct match. Carmel’s innovative business idea won the award for Best Design in the MTU Prize for Innovation Challenge 2023.
The Crawford Graduate Exhibitions are a wonderful opportunity to support emerging artistic talent in the region by purchasing the students’ original artwork on sale at the Sharman Crawford Street exhibitions. The Department of Media Communications Exhibition, which showcases the work of design, photography, video and digital media students, will be of interest to employers seeking to spot talented graduates.
The Department of Media Communications Exhibition opens with a Private View from 6pm to 9pm on June 1st, and runs until June 8th, at the James Barry Exhibition Centre, MTU Bishopstown Campus.
The Department of Fine Art & Applied Art Exhibition opens with a Private View from 6pm to 9pm on June 2nd and runs until June 8th from 11am to 6pm (closed Bank Holiday Monday and late opening on Thursday, 8th June to 8:30pm) at MTU’s Sharman Crawford Street Campus.
For further information on all the exhibiting artists and their work, please see: https://crawford.cit.ie/graduates/