Life Goes On

A collaborative multi-media art exhibition opens May 16, marking the centenary of the withdrawal of the British Army from Kildare in 1922

Image:                 ‘Not All Streets Are Paved With Gold’, porcelain sculpture, by Eleanor Swan

Time and Location:  10.30am, Monday 16th May, Bord na Móna, Main Street, Newbridge, Co. Kildare

When shoe lasts and leather receipts belonging to Newbridge cobblers, the Sheehan Brothers, were discovered by Irish Ceramicist and Co-Founder of SULT Artists Eleanor Swan, the seeds of an idea for an exciting new collaboration were planted. The lasts had been used to make shoes and boots for British Troops stationed in County Kildare up until their withdrawal in 1922, and Eleanor repurposed them to make slip cast moulds for a new sculpture.

SULT Artists approached Newbridge Local History Group and invited them to collaborate in marking this significant political and social change in Kildare in 1922. The aim of the collaboration was to produce a visual response to local stories or an historical, political or social event of the time.

The resulting exhibition titled ‘Life Goes On’ opens on Monday 16th May, exactly one hundred years after the withdrawal of British troops. At 10.30am on 16th May 1922, the British Army withdrew their forces simultaneously from the barracks in Naas, Newbridge, Kildare and the Curragh. Their departures was watched by thousands of people along the route as the constant stream of lorries and troops passed through the Kildare towns on their way to Dublin Port. Almost at the same time, the fledgling Free State Army, marched into the Curragh and Newbridge to take possession from the departing troops; a month later the Irish Civil War began.

The collection of original paintings, fine art prints, sculptures and mixed media installations will be accompanied by an illustrated, limited edition book combining artwork and historical context. Lectures on that important time in the State’s history will be given to visiting groups on request. Most significantly, the exhibition will be held in what was a former Army barracks located in the Bord na Móna Headquarters campus, in Newbridge, open to the public for the first time.

The exhibition is supported by Kildare County Council Decade of Commemorations Committee and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-23 Initiative.

‘Life Goes On’ opens at Bord na Móna Headquarters, Newbridge on Monday 16th May, runs until Sunday 29th May. See for further information.

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