Just like my last trip to Galway, this one was nothing short of eventful. As you know I’m the kind of person who finds a festival everywhere I go, so I was delighted to catch the opening day of Múscailt on the NUI Galway Campus. The Irish word múscailt stands for awakening, inspiration and celebration and seemed like a good motto for such a diverse festival.
Organised by the Arts Office of NUIG an impressive number and variety of events are taking place from 8-12 February 2010 and there was a great buzz on campus. The newly opened Bailey Allen Wing of the university is the perfect space for both the students’ artwork as well as currently a fabulous exhibition of work by Cork visual artist Aideen Barry. I found Barry’s approach to art incredibly refreshing, she also talked about her recent residency at NASA space centre (!) and came across as both enthusiastic and approachable.
Another exhibition, which was also on in the Brian Allen Wing at the moment, was a striking photo exhibition by the Galway Refugee Support Group. Especially after having seen Philippe Lioret’s thoughtprovoking film about immigration called ‘Welcome’ the night before, the photographs taken by asylum seekers in Irish ‘direct provision’ accommodation really moved me. It is often the seemingly small stories which don’t make it into the news that tell us more about ourselves and our sciety than we care to admit. If you manage to catch the exhibition in Galway or elsewhere, you will see why.