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Press Articles
Irish Times, Health Supplement, September 2006
Article written by Lorna Siggins
Olympic kayaker Eadaoin Ni Challarain, Maureen Kenny of Kenny’s Bookshop and Traveller activist Ellen Mongan may not know each other that well – but all three are sharing well-lit wall space over the next three weeks as part of an exhibition in Galway. Actress and writer Pauline McGlynn, Druid Theatre director Garry Hynes, community activist Tokie Laotan, political activist Margaretta D’arcy, former Mayor Cllr Catherine Connolly and Connacht Tribune journalist Bernie Ni Flatharta are also subjects for artist Jenny O’Brien’s oil on canvas portraits in a fundraising initiative for the Galway Rape Crisis Centre(GRCC).
O’Brien’s portraits of 12 women including GRCC founder and businesswoman Liz Cassidy, were unveiled last night at the Kenny Gallery in Galway city, and she swore not one of the dozen had seen the finished work beforehand. A newspaper article about the work of the GRCC on Claddagh Quay prompted her to offer to help, and she has spent 14months on the paintings.
O’Brien, also a musician, has lived in Galway for 11 years and was aware that many artists contributed to fundraising Christmas cards published by charities such as Galway Hospice and Croi, the West of Ireland Heart Foundation. “I was thinking about something like that for a year or two, but then it occurred to me that Galway people love Galway people – so why not do something like this and then incorporate the images in a calendar.”
The artist worked mostly from photographs, but took most of these herself; this ensured that she established a relationship with the subjects. “My aim was to capture the personality behind the image” she said. “Tom Kenny agreed to exhibit them without commission, which was great, and all proceeds are going to the GRCC.” The 12 portraits are for sale, in aid of the GRCC, while proceeds from the calendar of the images will also go to the centre. O’Brien said she would love to see all 12 being bought together, given their historical value. Inspirational Women of Galway, a portrait exhibition by Jenny O’Brien is on show at the Kenny Gallery until early October. For more details visit www.jennyobrienportraits.com
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