A stunning range of styles

A stunning range of styles

The currach by John Behan, RHA. Photograph by Cormac Coyne.

An asylum-seeker from Pakistan, a hugely talented young visual artist from Co Armagh, and a print-maker based in Co Kerry are just three of the artists whose amazing works have brightened up Inis Oirr this summer.

Sadly, the ‘Curacha’ exhibition which celebrates 21 years of Aras Eanna as an arts centre comes to an end this Sunday (September 12).

It has been an amazing summer.

Since we launched this exhibition in glorious sunshine on July 17, hundreds upon hundreds of people have visited our theatre and courtyard to check out the 11 stunning pieces of art here at Aras Eanna.

But they have also spread out all across the island to check out the hand-painted and hand-decorated currachs, from Sean O Coileain’s poignant, lonely piece out near the lighthouse – he called it ‘Love and death break every back’ – to Deirdre McKenna’s hand-knitted piece here at Aras Eanna.

If you haven’t visited Inis Oirr yet to check out ‘Curacha’, make sure to get here by Sunday!

The currach by Sadia Shoaib. Photography by Cormac Coyne.


Originally from Pakistan, Sadia is an asylum-seeker who lives with her husband and four children in the Old Convent, Co Mayo. Sadia migrated to Ireland in 2015 and did her degree in Fine Arts, completing her BBA, in Pakistan.

Sadia has always been passionate about art and regularly participates in art projects in Co Mayo, as well as organizing classes for children living in Direct Provision. She was hugely excited to be invited to take part in this exhibition and has researched the Aran Islands for her piece. She represents the traditional woven stitch of the islands and the butterflies found around the islands in Mandala style, representing a spiritual journey through layers.


Daniel Coleman (b.1994) is a Visual Artist from Co. Armagh and a studio member of Platform Arts, Belfast. Primarily a painter, Daniel also explores drawing, installation and text as part of his practice. He has exhibited regularly in both Northern Ireland and the Republic since graduating with First Class Honours in Fine Art (Painting) from the Belfast School of Art (2016).

Daniel is a member of ‘The Drawing Journal’ (2018 – present) a collaborative drawing and text project. Recent shows with this group include, ‘Image of Thought’, Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich, Belfast (2020 – 2021) and an upcoming show with Ards Arts Centre, Newtownards (2021). Daniel Coleman is the recent recipient of the RHA/ Áras Éanna Residency Award and is currently taking time out to create new works here on Inis Oirr.

The currach by Daniel Coleman from Co Armagh.


Tom Meskell has been working as a participatory artist for over 20 years, developing successful projects nationally and internationally. Based in Co. Mayo, he also maintain a studio practice and exhibit regularly in solo and group shows. Tom was part of the team that created the blank currachs for this exhibition.

Tom has created a shoal of golden fish darting over the surface of the boat, with colours and imagery for inspired by the island. He has created the ‘Golden Bounty’ as an intuitive response to Inis Oirr, its landscape, and atmosphere. He is excited by seeing this exhibitions outdoors on the island.


The currach by Sean Cathal O Coileán, which is located near the island’s lighthouse.


“I have no important statement to make, only that I paint every day,” says Sean, a native of Co. Donegal.


Jay Murphy moved to Galway in 1976, having studied fine art in Dun Laoghaire School of Art and printing in Central School, London. As well as being involved in group shows in Ireland and overseas, Jay has had many solo shows throughout the country including two for Galway International Arts Festival- ‘Circa Circo’ in 1996 and ‘Hydro’ in 2011.

Her work is included in many embassies and public art collections, including that of former President Soares of Portugal, presented by Mary Robinson as President of Ireland. Jay was a founder member of Fior Uisce and Western Artists, exhibited with Island Connection and is a member of AKIN. Recent exhibitions include Taylor Galleries, Dublin; Galway Arts Centre, Hamilton Gallery, Sligo; Green Fuse Gallery, Westport; and Clifden Arts Week, Co. Galway.

The currach by Cathal McGinley.


A multidisciplinary artist who lives in Ramelton, Co. Donegal, Cathal’s works are greatly influenced by Inis Bó Finne, a small island off the coast of Maheraroarty, where he spent most of his childhood. He studied Fine Art in Sligo and an MA at the University of Ulster.

Cathal enjoyed three years as an artist in residence on Inis Bó Finne, splitting his time between the island and the mainland. His intuitive methodology combines heritage, folklore, storytelling, and his love of his native language and the island community. At the end of his three year residency in 2019, Cathal produced a diverse exhibition of paintings, drawings, sculpture and film.


Deirdre McKenna graduated from the Crawford College of Art and Design in 1999, having studied painting. In 2011 she took up printmaking under the master printmaker Niall Naessens. She is a member of Cork Printmakers and is based in Dingle, Co. Kerry.

Her work has been selected for print exhibitions by the Center for Printmaking Connecticut, Impact 10 Encuentre in Santander ’18, The Manly Art Gallery and Museum, NSW Australia, The New State at Graphic Studio Gallery. She has a keen interest in how people interpret the environment and traditions of the past, and their place in contemporary society.


The currach by Deirdre McKenna which is located in the courtyard at Áras Éanna.

Read about some of the other artists who took part in the fantastic ‘Curacha’ exhibition here: https://aras-eanna.ie/en/paying-tribute-to-our-glorious-past/