Maria McKinney Awarded the Bolay Artist Residency 2021 at The Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar

The Linenhall Arts Centre is very pleased to announce visual artist Maria McKinney as the recipient of this year’s Bolay Residency. McKinney, an artist from Donegal who creates work through a range of media including sculpture, installation, photography and video was awarded the ‘On Sight’ 2020 art commission at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park. Her project, ‘Straw Sister’ is a sculptural work exploring the tradition of the Strawboys in Ireland and the agricultural process of artificial insemination (AI) in cattle breeding and was developed during her time in Mayo last year.

McKinney’s practice involves responding to context and her recent work has a focus on agriculture and cattle breeding in particular. Her research delves into the ongoing and deepening understanding of genetics, how this is being applied, and the wider societal implications. She has a myriad of activities to undertake during the residency including work with Irish Moiled farmers in Mayo; engagement with the Drumlin landscape; conversations with geological and heritage researchers in GMIT and Heritage Mayo; developing new approaches and responses to research gathered; and creative (possibly wearable) objects to be taken to and documented in the landscape. McKinney will also facilitate a Creative Schools project with Foxford National School during her time in Mayo later this year.

The Bolay Residency is focused on artists who feel disconnected from their work and McKinney will use the time on the residency to re-energise her practice after the challenging period of Covid, and the loss of momentum experienced by losing a number of exhibition opportunities. She said, “I’m delighted and very grateful to be selected for the Bolay artist residency with the Linenhall Arts Centre. Their generous support will allow me to reconnect and grow my practice after such a tumultuous period.”

There was an exceptional response to the residency open call with 103 applications received. The residency encompasses a purpose-built studio in the Linenhall, accommodation at Lough Lannagh Village, tailored mentorship, a purpose-built digital suite, an artist fee of €8,000, a materials budget of €2,000 and an exhibition opportunity at the Linenhall in 2022.

We’re really honoured to host Maria as this year’s recipient”, commented Linenhall Director, Bernadette Greenan. “We’re looking forward to seeing how her work develops, particularly after the challenges of the past two years.”

For further details and information please contact the Linenhall Arts Centre on 094 9023733 or

Image caption: Straw Sister by Maria McKinney, a wearable sculptural work that aims to reconnect present day realities of farming with the historical artefacts held in the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life collections. Available to view at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. You can review our Privacy Policy under the menu above: About VAI > VAI Privacy Statement