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Voices from the Past a New Art Exhibition featuring Irish Literary Figures at MIC

Voices from the Past Exhibition – Pictured at the opening of the Voices from the Past exhibition, currently on display at Mary Immaculate College were Prof. Gary O’Brien, artist Judith Henihan and Margaret McKeon Henihan a former graduate of MIC. Picture: Liam Burke / Press 22

‘ Voices from the past ’ is an exhibition of portraits on Irish literary figures from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Painted by Limerick born artist Judith Henihan, the works will be on display in the foyer of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick throughout the month of November.

The Voices from the Past exhibition contains portraits of leading Irish literary figures including James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Countess Markievicz, Oscar Wilde, Peig Sayers, Samuel Beckett, Douglas Hyde and Lady Gregory. 

Voices of the past

Voices of the Past exhibition – Pictured at the opening of the Voices from the Past exhibition, currently on display at Mary Immaculate College were artist Judith Henihan and Prof Gary O’Brien, MIC. Photograph Liam Burke / Press 22

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition on November 7, Professor Gary O’Brien, Associate Vice President Administration at MIC extended the college’s appreciation to Judith Henihan for her generosity in lending these portraits to MIC. “The display is beautiful and powerful and I hope that as many people as possible have the chance to view it over the next few weeks”.

Prof. O’Brien continued “ Voices from the past reverberate and shape the future in myriad ways. History is not the sole preserve of the professional ‘keepers of the scrolls’ but is brought alive by art also. This is the theme of Judith Henihan’s assembled works, so beautifully displayed in our foyer this evening, and we are delighted and honoured that she has provided them to us for public viewing as part of our centenary year programme of events. “

MIC’s ‘1916 and the Decade of Commemorations’ aims to celebrate our national heritage, language and culture, while also remembering past alumni, as well as the students of today. 

According to Judith “In this capacity, and most especially as my mother Margaret McKeown, is a past pupil of Mary I, it was a privilege to be invited to participate in this year’s events.”

She continued “In this centenary year of 2016, I found myself looking through so many old photographs, often dim, monotone renderings of faces and places, long gone. I felt enthralled by a sense of the past, while being made painfully aware of how removed we are today, from the ideological struggles of that era”.

Speaking about the process of painting the portraits Judith explained that “with a live sitting being impossible (in the absence of time travel!),” she had to find an alternative means of establishing a dynamic painter-sitter interplayShe therefore gathered as many images as she could of the subjects, in order to build a sense of what it might have been like, to be in their presence. “As I painted each portrait, and as the numbers grew, I felt very keenly engaged in a conversation of sorts. These ‘voices from the past’ were very much speaking to me,” she said.

‘Voices from the past’ comes to MIC from Farmleigh House and is currently on display in the Main Foyer, Mary Immaculate College as part of MIC’s ‘1916 and the Decade of Commemorations’ programme. All welcome.

To view the Mary Immaculate College website click here

For more news on other exhibitions happening in Limerick from I Love Limerick click here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.