Be-Longing by Marta Golubowska
Born and reared in Naas, I naturally have an aversion to Newbridge, anyone local to Kildare will know, no surprise there! Think Springfield and Shelbyville. It’s a long standing rivalry and I was always confident Naas was the superior town, until The Riverbank Arts Centre came along, that is. It is a fantastic hub of arts and culture and a real addition to the area. We have a strong tradition of spoken and written word in Kildare but maybe not such a great platform for the visual arts. The Riverbank works to counter this by providing a gallery for existing and upcoming artists to showcase their work. As part of the visual arts programme, Kildare arts have an arts and wellbeing programme, The Creative Well (link) which provides a friendly social space for people to explore their creativity. They work with everyone from the complete amateur to the professional artist and above all it is a space where creativity is taken seriously.
As part of the creative well, this month sees the work of Marta Golubowska on view in The McKenna Gallery. Marta arrived in Ireland 10 years ago and settled in Kildare, where she lives with her husband and two kids. This is her first solo show. It tackles the issues that Marta encountered while growing roots and looking for her identity in a foreign country.
Marta has concentrated her work around the Coolaghknock Housing Estate in Kildare Town. The exhibition is made up of three parts, audio, video and visual and hopefully the photos go a little way towards capturing the question Marta is addressing. She has said on the work; “I am particularly interested in the links between identity and peoples homes, their community and their language and how the boundaries of identity are altered when your affiliation with these fundamental elements is fractured.”
From my perspective, I loved the wallpaper. The inky, smudgy renderings, on first glance appear uniform, much like the houses themselves. But the imagery starts to overlap, fall off the page and lose it’s uniform pattern, just as the inhabitants of these houses do in an attempt to find their ‘home’.
The video piece is really lovely addition to the exhibition. It documents the residents of Coolaghknock painting and decorating the ceramic houses that are laid out on the floor in front of you. They chat as they paint which brings the whole piece to life in a way that is very neighbourly. I really enjoyed the idea of including the residents in the work.
The exhibition continues until the 25th of October and there is an artist talk on the 19th of October at 8pm. These are always really insightful evenings and it’s a lovely way to hear about the artwork, direct from the horses mouth, as it were.
Not sure if I will ever fully embrace Newbridge but I will definitely continue to visit as long as The Riverbank is around and projects like ‘This Must Be The Place’ exist.