Púca in the Machine | Group Exhibition at Blessington Library


Púca in the Machine | Group Exhibition at Blessington Library Date/Time
Date(s) - 17/02/2022 - 05/03/2022

Blessington Library





Three Irish artists present new work about the Poulaphuca Reservoir, Wicklow. The project, Púca in the Machine, will be shown at Blessington Library from February 17th to March 5th 2022. Artists Shane Finan (Valleymount, Wicklow), Niamh Fahy (Bristol, UK) and Alannah Robins (Inagh, Galway) began working on this project in 2021, brought together by Wicklow-based Finan to study the reservoir from the perspective of myth, ecology and the more-than-human.

Poulaphuca means “the púca’s hole”: The púca is a mischievous creature in Irish folklore who is able to take many forms. Local lore tells that it swims as a metre-long pike in the King’s River, Wicklow. After Kings River and the River Liffey were dammed to create the hydroelectric power station in the 1930s, the valley was submerged, giving the púca more room to spread its mischief. As the púca gained new area to roam, many people were evicted. Their stories have been well documented by publications and documentaries through the years. To tell a new story, the artists focussed on the voices of those that are often not recorded in the history of the reservoir: The trees that were cut down, the animals that were displaced, the algae that had new places to grow.

Art from the project will exhibit for the first time at Blessington Library, opening on February 17th 2022 and running until March 5th 2022 before touring to other venues in Ireland later in 2022. All three artists will give a talk on February 17th at 6pm, explaining the concepts and ideas that led the work’s development. Although restrictions have eased, there will be a limited capacity for the launch event and tickets are available through Blessington Library.

West Wicklow is an area of importance for the Wicklow Arts Office. County Arts Officer Jenny Sherwin commented “We are very pleased to be able to support Shane’s initiative with Strategic Project funding and his practice is a wonderful addition to the Arts Ecology in West Wicklow.”

A book documenting the project will launch at Blessington Library on March 3rd 2022 at 6pm. Púca in the Machine received support from Wicklow Arts Office Strategic Projects Fund 2022.


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