independent

Sunday 15 September 2019

Artists studying effects of climate change

93-year-old local resident Nancy Dempsey shows artists Mark Clare, Fiona McDonald and Mary Conroy and Joanna Hopkins photos of how the area looked in the past at the launch of the unique public art project at Portrane beach
93-year-old local resident Nancy Dempsey shows artists Mark Clare, Fiona McDonald and Mary Conroy and Joanna Hopkins photos of how the area looked in the past at the launch of the unique public art project at Portrane beach

Maria Pepper

The names of four artists chosen for a unique public art project on biodiversity which is underway in Wexford, Fingal and Dublin, were officially announced on a beach in Portrane which is a site of severe coastal erosion.

Mark Clare, Fiona McDonald, Mary Conroy and Joanna Hopkins will spend the next couple of months collaborating with biodiversity specialists and communities along Ireland's east coast to create an artistic response to the influences of climate change.

Wexford County Council, Fingal County Council and Dublin City Council put a call out for artists interested in exploring art and ecology to apply to be part of the new environmental residency programme called An Urgent Enquiry.

The successful artists will work in the counties for three months, exploring the local biodiversity and the effects of climate change through research, interaction with environmental specalists, scientists and advisors and enagement with local communities

Artist Mark Clare will be based in Carrig-on Bannow. Focusing on a solitary bee (Osmia aurulenta) found along the east coast, he will explore environmental issues such as habitat loss, disturbance, insect decline, pollution and climate change. He is also keen to highlight the importance of sea Phytoplankton which produce over 40% of the world's oxygen through photosynthesis.

To introduce his Wexford residency, Mark is organising workshops with a marine biologist to explore the contribution of phytoplankton to life on earth. Local audiences will view samples of the tiny organisms collected in Wexford.

Artist Fiona McDonald has been assigned to Bull Island in Dublin which is part of the UNESCO designated Dublin Bay Biosphere. She is interested in the use of environmental sensor technology to detect and gather data on sea level changes, air pollution, coastal erosion and habitat disturbance.

Collabortating artists Mark Conway and Joanna Hopkins who are based at Portrane beach in Fingal, want to explore the theory of 'Environmental Generational Amnesia', the idea that each generation sees the environment into which it is born, no matter how polluted, as the norm.

Wexford People

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