A KILDARE woodturner-sculptor has been awarded €10,000 to provide a Covid 19 reflection space in a Newbridge school .
The proposed project by Castledermot Woodturner-Sculptor,Emmet Kane in partnership with St Conleth’s Community College, Newbridge, has been selected for the prestigious Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund in partnership with Business to Arts.
The project will create a permanent new art installation at St Conleth’s Community College.
Over the coming weeks and months, Emmet will collaborate with the pupils and staff at the school to develop an outdoor space on the school grounds that will be a quiet space for everyone to remember and reflect on Covid-19 and how it has affected people in different ways.
An outdoor seating area will be created from locally sourced wood; and an Oak tree will be planted at the space too, in memory of all those in the school community who died from Covid-19 over the past 18 months.
“My vision is that a new space be created through this arts project which will be an inviting and calm place for students and staff to reflect and take time out from their busy school life and that the process will encourage students to talk or listen to their teachers and each other more,” said Emmet.
School principal Patricia O’Brien said it was a fantastic opportunity for the students in the school to work with an artist like Emmet, from the inception of an idea to the completion of the Project. “We have many students in the school whose families have been affected by Covid and who have experienced bereavements during this time. This project will help students work through their emotions in a positive way while leaving the school with a beautiful reflective space for generations to come,” she added.
Explaining his inspiration for the project Emmet said: “Last year since Covid-19, like many organisations, St Conleth’s Community College had to readjust the school building to accommodate social distancing. They also encouraged students and staff to use outside spaces more during breaks and lunches to enjoy the fresh air and take a mask-break. Over time it became apparent that the school lacked a quiet area for refection and calmness. With this in mind, the project will identify an area on the school grounds to be that quiet space for everyone to remember and reflect on the pandemic, the changes to how we live because of it and on those who died during it.”
Emmet Kane has worked as an woodturner/sculptor for over 33 years. He has been invited to contribute to many arts collaborations internationally and his work is exhibited in many prestigious galleries around the world including the National Museum of Ireland Detractive Arts Collins Barrack’s permanent collection.
St Conleth’s has excellent facilities including a fully equipped woodturning room. Since 2007, Emmet Kane has worked with St Conleth’s Wednesday Club, managed by the school’s completion officer Gillian Hipwell. Students also bring their Wednesday Club woodturning skills to create pieces for their Junior Cert and Leaving Cert exams. In 2012, the school was involved in a Titanic project with a number of other schools in Newbridge, for which the Woodturning Wednesday Club created fragments of the ship.
“The Wednesday Club woodturning class allows the pupils to relax and be creative. Over the years students have developed an understanding of design and creativity and appreciate how many elements have to work together to make a bowl or a pen or a piece of sculpture from wood,” says Emmet.
Emmet says that the philosophy of ‘working the hands to free the mind’ will help all the students involved to learn new skills while talking through their problems as they learn.
“Working with wood is a fantastic medium because it proves that anything is possible. I always encourage the students to realise that there is no such a word as ‘cannot’ because everything is possible if we try and if we are determined,” he said.