There seem to be a lot of students who upon arriving to Dublin like to make their very first question, “where are all the sheep?” It doesn’t seem very much like Ireland at all, at least not the Ireland we like to picture, and so some people immediately write Dublin off as not having that “Irish culture”. This is not quite accurate. In fact it is pretty far from the truth. Dublin, though it does not immediately appear as such, is a city full of culture, history and art all woven together. The trick is just being able to find it.
The Cultural Immersion in the Fine Arts course with Jacinta Kendrick takes students around Dublin and through its cultural inheritance and history through artwork. The course is broad taking in architecture, fine art, and modern art, weaving them all together much like the city itself. A seemingly unsuspecting industrial looking building from the 60s, Liberty Hall, suddenly turns out be built upon the site of the headquarters of the rebel leaders of 1916. Right next door the Customs house built by the British occupants of the country represents Ireland of both the past and present as it is constructed mainly in Portland Stone imported from England but its darker dome was built later in Irish Limestone.
The Champlain College Academic Centre is an old Georgian house but it becomes something completely different as students are taken back in time to see what an old Georgian House interior looked like in its prime at No 29 Fitzwilliam St. Meanwhile, the discovery of an impressive Caravaggio painting “The Taking of Christ” in one of Dublin’s National Gallery proves the country to be as connected to the rest of Europe as any other. Just around the corner in the same Gallery hangs the truly Expressionist paintings of one of Ireland’s own artists, Jack B. Yeats, as he mourns the loss of his wife and the lives taken during the many conflicts he lived through in some of his works.
|Laura Hackney’s Lino print.|
Yet, only so much can be gained from simply exploring the city and seeing the art. It means much more to tie yourself into Ireland while actively getting involved in creating your own artwork. We get to do this in this course. Using a photograph that we are proud of or a shot of some interesting aspect of Ireland, we were then able to create and print our own Lino Prints. This takes a few classes to bring to completion but leads to students creating their own interpretation of the country they have now explored and lived in for a few months. By doing this creative project students produce a new perspective on the country they inhabit for four months. We were also assigned a Photo Journal to complete, in which we were asked to choose six to eight photographs we had taken in Ireland that all had a common theme and discuss them; for example, I chose to discuss the integrated landscape of Ireland and how it connected to the culture and the history of the country.
The assignment became a relaxed way to examine your time spent in Ireland and review the amazing places we have seen, and explore what Ireland or the photographs we took meant to us.
Immersion through the Fine Arts is a wonderful way to explore Dublin and Ireland through many mediums and opportunities, offering students a way to discover Ireland in ways they may not have found on their own. Through the gallery excursions, to actually being able to assemble artistic representations of Ireland themselves, students are offered new perspectives and outlooks on the country and culture they are a part of for a semester. There are plenty of things to be found in the city of Dublin, and even more in the country of Ireland itself, but sometimes they are the smallest things, the little works of art or memories hidden within them that are not easy to find on one’s own, but that when revealed are the best of all.
Champlain Abroad Dublin, Fall 2013
Champlain College, Graphic Design, Class of 2015