Bealtaine | Shane Hynan at Kildare Library


Bealtaine | Shane Hynan at Kildare Library Date/Time
Date(s) - 01/06/2022 - 30/06/2022
9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Kildare Town Library, Kildare Town, Co. Kildare




‘Bealtaine’ is a miniseries within a larger body of work entitled ‘Beneath | Beofhód’. The exhibition includes work from both series and explores common themes of time, spirituality, change, fragility and ritual.

Bealtaine has many meanings in modern and Celtic Ireland. It derives from the old Gaelic words ‘Bel taine’ which translate as ‘bright fire’. It also corresponds to the Celtic festival of ‘La Bealtaine’, celebrating the beginning of Summer.

In Celtic times rituals were performed to ensure the fertility of the earth for the coming year. Bonfires were lit at important landmarks during the festival and the flames, smoke and ashes were revered as having special protective powers. The symbolism of these fires is further enhanced by the fact that the Irish word for the month of May is ‘Bealtaine’.

In May 2020 there were a number of major bog fires in north Kildare. The flames were visible for miles and the local Fire Service and Air Corps fought for days to bring the fires under control and protect local properties.

“Although the epi-centre of the fire offered the greater spectacle, I focused on the fringes and aftermath and found them to be more interesting and rich with metaphor.”

“While photographing I often found myself lingering in the smoke and charred landscape. I began to feel an echo from an older time and wondered if it was the rituals of our ancestors persisting or possibly a warning for us to take better care of our environment.”

This exhibition is part funded by Kildare County Council Arts Service through an Arts Act Grant and Shane’spractice is kindly supported by Kildare Arts Service and the Arts Council of Ireland

About the Artist:

Shane Hynan is a visual artist and photographer based in Kildare. In 2019 he completed an MFA in Photography at Ulster University following a career change from structural engineering. He currently works full time developing his visual arts practice.

His practice draws upon conceptual and documentary photographic approaches and focuses on rural Ireland, bogs and the built environment. The use of photography as a tool of expression, drawing on an emotional and intuitive connection with the landscape and topography, is a central concern within his work. The metaphorical exploration of place, space and land underpins his visual enquiry and acts as a significant subtext.

His ongoing long-term photographic series Beneath | Beofhód (2018-present) explores the bogs of the Irish midlands and the culture around them. The work deals with themes of loss, change, duality and resilience.

He is the recipient of the 2020 ‘Emerging Visual Artist Bursary Award’ from Kildare Arts Service. His first solo exhibition took place in the Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, in 2021. His work has been shown at a number of group exhibitions, including the RHA Annuals 2020, 2021 and 2022 and shortlisted for the Royal Photographic Society International Photography Exhibition 162 & 163. He is the recipient of the Visual Arts Bursary Award and the Agility Award from the Arts Council in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Opening Night

There will be an exhibition opening of ‘Bealtaine’ on Thursday 2nd June at 7pm with artist Shane Hynan and guest speaker, Pamela de Brí (artist). Opening night is free to attend but booking is required by clicking on the using the link here.


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