Exhibition inspired by the work of Benedict Kiely opens at Strule Arts Centre

The 14th Benedict Kiely Weekend takes place from 11-13 September 2015 at the Strule Arts Centre, Omagh

Published: 14th September 2015

An exhibition of new work by artist and Omagh native, Susan Mannion, has opened at Strule Arts Centre, Omagh as part of the 14th Benedict Kiely Weekend.

 The exhibition, entitled ‘A Raid Into Dark Corners’ takes its name from the title of a critical essay published by Benedict Kiely in 1978 relating to the early work of Seamus Heaney in which he cites Seamus Heaney as stating that ‘poetry is a kind of raid into dark corners.’

‘A Raid into Dark Corners’ is Susan’s first solo exhibition at Strule Arts Centre. The exhibition, which features wood engravings and a number of enamelled copper pieces, is inspired by the writing of Benedict Kiely and in particular, from Kiely’s acclaimed 1977 novel ‘Proxopera’. Kiely in turn drew his inspiration from the landscape, people, culture and history of Omagh and its hinterland.

Susan, who is originally from Omagh but who now lives in Boyle, County Roscommon, is one of a small number of diminishing wood engravers working in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Her work has featured in this year’s Royal Academy of Arts Summer Show in London, the Society of Wood Engravers Annual Exhibition throughout the United Kingdom and the Wood Engravers Triennial Exhibition throughout the United States of America. Her work has also been featured in the Royal Hibernian Academy and Royal Ulster Academy annual exhibition.

 Speaking at the opening of ‘A Raid into Dark Corners’ exhibition, Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly, said:

 “We are delighted and honoured that Susan has chosen the 14th annual Benedict Kiely Weekend, Omagh’s Literary Festival, here in her home town to display her first ever solo exhibition.

“The exhibition features new work inspired by the writings of Benedict Kiely whose own inspiration was drawn from the landscape, people, culture and history of his native West Tyrone.”

The exhibition is just one part of the 14th Benedict Kiely Weekend programme (11-13 September 2015). Organised and funded by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Omagh Arts Committee, the Benedict Kiely Weekend included readings, discussions and workshops with a number of acclaimed authors. Contributors to the Festival include Mohammed Samaana, Yaser Alashqar, Martina Devlin, Colette Bryce, Dervla Murphy, Mark Graham, Michael Harding and Conor McCloskey.

Benedict Kiely, who was born in Dromore, County Tyrone in 1919, is recognised as one of the most distinguished figures in twentieth century Irish literature, authoring ten novels and writing scores of short stories.  In his later years Benedict Kiely moved into broadcasting and was a stalwart of RTE’s ‘Sunday Miscellany’ radio feature from the 1970s to 1990s. The author died in Dublin in 2007 and is buried in Omagh’s Dublin Road cemetery.

The exhibition ‘A Raid into Dark Corners’ continues at Strule Arts Centre until Saturday 14 November 2015. The Gallery at Strule Arts Centre is open Monday to Saturday, 10.00 am to 5.30pm and admission to the exhibition is free.

A Gallery talk and demonstration on wood engraving methods, facilitated by Susan Mannion, will take place on Saturday 3 October at 11.30 am at Strule Arts Centre. Admission is free although booking is essential. Please telephone Strule Arts Centre on 028 8224 7831.


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