Artist Louis Haugh and educator Anne Bradley have been facilitating visual creative workshops in unique locations in Portmarnock, writes Rose Barrett.
The workshops with school children from St Marnock’s National School form part of a new project titled, ‘If Trees Could Talk’, commissioned by Fingal Arts Office on the occasion of Cruinniú na nÓg 2021.
This project invited children to explore the photographic work of Haugh. The billboard titled ‘23.5km Southwest of Here’ on Strand Road was the first installation site, and site-specific. The title referenced the exact location Louis photographed in relation to Portmarnock and enabled children to view his work at scale.
Several bus shelters in Portmarnock – Strand Road, Carrickhill Road and Weldell Avenue are currently activated with other compelling work by Louis, creating an art trail throughout the coastal town.
There are three essential elements to this project devised and delivered by Louis and educator Bradley – large scale public photographic works, digital activity packs and classroom-based workshops with the artist.
The project introduces children to Louis’ photographic works as a starting point for conversations about trees.
The pair are guiding the children in a series of engaging and practical workshops designed to explore several themes including botany, seed collecting, landscape, mythology and storytelling from indigenous North American culture where the Sitka spruce is a native tree. The children have experienced large scale photography, drawing, mapping and artist lead discussions. Each child in the class has also received a multi-sensory discovery pack, with activities to encourage cross-curricular learning inspired by Louis’ artwork.