A Towering Exhibit

Caroline Canning pictured at the exhibition.

Caroline Canning pictured at the exhibition.

Ranelagh Arts Centre recently staged an exhibition immortalising Sandymount’s Poolbeg towers. The exhibition ran in the centre from May 14th to May 29th and was the brainchild of Caroline Canning, an artist who has lived in the Ranelagh area for the last 25 years.

The expo is a presentation of 29 oil on linen paintings, taking a new perspective on the Poolbeg towers, with most of the offerings drawn from Sandymount, with others created while on-site in places as far-flung as Howth, Three Rock and Dollymount Strand.

The exhibit debuted to a flurry of publicity and was opened by Una Sealy, a reputable Dublin artist. Over a hundred people attended Canning’s unveiling, with Facebook and Twitter providing her with other alternative media outlets.

Caroline Canning, a former art student and shopkeeper, felt herself drawn to commemorate the towers in her own unique way. As readers of NewsFour will know automatically, the towers hold a very special place in the daily life of Dublin 4, and have been a veritable magnet for creative minds throughout the years. Canning would often walk her dog down the strand and felt compelled to commit to paper her artistic interpretation of one of Dublin’s most recognisable landmarks.

“Anybody with any kind of visual awareness around Dublin would often paint the towers,” Canning told NewsFour. “Basically, anywhere you go in Dublin, if you’re high enough, you’ll see them. Even people around Ranelagh will tell you stories that their mother’s ashes are scattered by the chimneys. Emigrants who have been away for ages come back to Dublin and see the towers and know that they’re back home.”

Canning’s exhibition has been in the pipeline for a year and a half now, with last November pencilled in as the original date. This was new terrain for Canning, as she had never manned an exhibition on only one topic before, but was thrilled with the prospect of acting as gallery keeper for a few weeks!

“I actually feel as if I’ve just started. I did drawings from Sandymount and from other angles, but people would send me photos from their offices and bedrooms. Once you start painting them (the towers) you could paint them forever.”

Due to the success of the Poolbeg exhibition, Canning is keen to capitalise on this new momentum and create an even bigger event sometime next year in an even bigger venue. She hopes her work in the Ranelagh Arts Centre will galvanise any creative minds who may be interested.

“People have just really liked the paintings. And because there’s been such a really good response to this from artists as well as from the public, I want to put together a really big exhibition for next year to incorporate all kinds of artists, painters, photographers, short films and the like.”

By Craig Kinsella