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Look to the Light: Lantern Sculptures at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life

lantern sculptures

Visitors to the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life are in for a surprise as there are some interesting new residents among the Museum’s folklife collection… Two gossiping ladies, a lady with her hand on heart, a bride beside the lift and a girl in a shawl, as well as a school boy answering a question, a boy and a man in the kitchen and a figure sitting contemplating.

These intriguing figures were made by young adults from Co Mayo during the “Look to the Light” Lantern Sculptures workshops facilitated by artist Tom Meskell. The work will be on display throughout the Museum until the 25th May 2012.

Nine talented young artists participated making their piece from wire and tissue. The finished pieces are lit from the inside. The inspiration for the figures came from the museum’s galleries, turning characters from rural Irish history into glowing pieces of art.

Mayo based artist Tom Meskell has developed many Lantern projects in Ireland and is particularly proud of this group: ‘They embraced the technique and made it their own producing life size figurative sculpture which is no mean feat. The group was very committed with 100% of the participants completing the project’.

The lantern sculptures are a wonderful addition to the Museum and encourage visitors see the museum’s collection in a new light. This project has given the participants an opportunity to work alongside a professional artist, to gain invaluable hands-on experience and to exhibit their work for the first time. Participants really enjoyed the project. Some of their comments include: ‘I was inspired by the different clothes people would wear in the past and also by the pictures and photographs of different people in the museum’. ‘It gave me an idea of how the characters would have lived’.

A video of the lantern sculptures entitled ‘Look to the Light’ with music by Ronán O'Snodaigh, is available from Tom Meskell’s website www.tommeskell.comLinks to external website.

The Museum extends thanks to Tom Meskelly and to all the participants: Moira Schlingermann, Emily Nolan, Niamh Walsh, Aisling Gillespie, James Ralph, Laura Ryder & Jack Swain, Catherine Hughes & Katie Reynolds.

This project was co-ordinated by the Education & Outreach Dept. at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life.

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