Under the Percent for Art Scheme, in 2019 Diane McCormick was commissioned to create an art piece for the school that reflected life in the Maree area.
BACKGROUND OF IDEA
Taking inspiration from the numerous ringforts that are found near Maree National School, this design shows a number of connecting rings made from ceramic shone shapes and decorated with illustrated images to reflect the history of the area and life in the school. The ceramic stone like shapes are arranged in loose circles to make a number of connecting circles and a blue band reflects the closeness of the sea.
Ring Forts are the remains of past settlement structures and were used as farmsteads and look out posts. They were used to keep livestock in and raiders out. The superstition of fairy forts may still hold but the fact that they were kept in field corners shows a connection with the past and the strong bond of the community to the customs, land and folklore of Ireland.
Maree N.S wishes to keep a connection to this close community and the past values while encouraging growth and this is reflected in this design.
The stones could represent the individuality of the pupils in the school with the flowing sea symbolising the gentle forces which shape each pupil and help them on their way as they are growing up.
Decorative motifs on the surfaces of these stone shapes were explored to reflect the many aspects of the site. Themes included in these illustrations are found in the history of the surrounding area – these townland names and their meanings- Ballynacourty, Garraun Upper, Garraun Lower, Cottage, Prospect Hill, Derry, Seafield, Kilcaimin, Inishcorra, Bird Island, Carrowmore, Goose Island, Marshal’s Park, Knocknawuddy, Ahapouleen, Lahardaun, Ballynacloughy, Mweeldoon, Ballynacourty, Tawin West, Tawin East, Mweenish Island, Treanlaur, Ardfry. Illustrations of the names of islands in the Mweeloon bay such as Bird island, Lamb Island, Goose Island, St Brendan’s Island) were also explored as well as local industry of oyster farming and keeping livestock as well as the cultural and social aspects of school life (sports, games, musical instruments, religion, drama as well as subjects taught as part of the general curriculum). These were discussed in workshops with two classes.
• 2 day workshop in school October 2019 with 4th and 6th classes (66 pupils in total).
• Classes were split into two groups, morning and afternoon and each consisted of a short talk about the artist’s work followed by a drawing session and then clay work.
• The children focused on the surrounding townlands, the significance of their names and local wildlife, flowers, insects and birds and the class discussed activities that went on in the school.
• They then had the opportunity to make their own designs onto a ceramic circle which was decorated with clay stamps, letters and patterns which now adorn the hallway in the school.
In August 2020, the installation of the piece was completed by Diane.
Diane McCormick creates commissions for public spaces, specifically designed for each environment whether they be healthcare, education, community settings or a private home. Diane was able to use this experience to hone in on the importance of community within the Maree area. For more information on Diane’s work please see: http://www.dianemccormick.co.uk/
We would like to thank Diane for her hard work and dedication to produce such a high quality piece of work which reflects the community spirit in a unique way.
Blessing of the Artwork
On November 18th, 2020, Fr Diarmuid Hogan blessed the artwork.
We hope that the local community can appreciate the artwork for many years to come.