The presentation is based on my own experience as an artist/practitioner and the experience gained as Director/curator of Sculpture in the Parklands working with both Irish and international artists who have created new artworks that respond to the rich environmental, archaeological and industrial history of Lough Boora, County Offaly. For over 25 years my artwork has explored the subtleties of ritual and imagination. I create artefacts that often combine the textured surfaces and flowing lines of our past with the strong and austere forms of modern architecture. The ultimate goal is to create a work of art that is timeless, thought provoking and responsive to the human spirit. As Director and curator of Sculpture in the Parklands I have been an observer of artistic practice as opposed to directly involved in it. The sculpture park is located in a cut away bog that has been brought back to life over the past ten years through the introduction of lakes and wetland habitats. The sculpture project has added another layer of engagement for visitors to the area by combining visual and conceptual interpretations of geography, landscape, the industrial history of peat harvesting and the people who had lived and worked there. Besides permanent or time based work, the project has a commitment to commissioning video artists, composers, writers and performance artists to interpret and document this unique landscape, archaeology and industrial history.
Kevin O’Dwyer is an internationally renowned artist whose work is represented in both private and public collections including The Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The National Museum of Ireland, The High Museum, Atlanta, The Ulster Museum, Belfast, King Karl Gustas of Sweden, The Japanese Imperial Family and The Racine Museum of Art, Wisconsin. O’Dwyer has been actively involved in both the arts and heritage projects throughout his career. As initiator of theLough Boora International Sculpture Symposium he won the prestigious Business2Arts Award in 2003. He established and directs Sculpture in the Parklands, a 50-acre sculpture park in County Offaly. Recent projects include Stories from a Sacred Landscape, a book that looks at the monastic sites and artwork of County Offaly. Curation of Wild Geese, The Irish in America,an exhibition that looks at the artwork of Irish American craftsperson’s and Peatlands, an exhibition of artwork inspired by bogland ecology, mythology, archaeology, industry and technology.