Art in Killorglin: Visual Feast at Kfest Music and Art


I had the pleasure of travelling to Killorglin for Kfest this Bank Holiday weekend. The build up on social media over the last few weeks amplified my excitement so I couldn’t wait to see all the art in person. There were nearly 155 artists involved in this years festival a number which the team wasn’t expecting but they were overwhelmed with the standard and variety of artists this year. Each artist was selected by the team and you can tell their dedication from the way that they spoke about the work and how is was presented.

With so many spaces to explore and artists to see if took two full days to absorb everything that was on offer. A total of 22 venues that ranged from former sweet shops to a courthouse, barber shop and an old mill, all of the buildings were engaged with a meaningful way. It was a delight to get a glimpse into some of the buildings which look like they had been frozen in time with thoughtful interventions incorporated throughout.

One such space was Sheehan’s Sweet Shop on Upper Bridge Street which was a curated space by Sophie Behal and Maeve Lynch. The Mind is the Screen presented work by five contemporary visual artists John Smith, James L. Hayes, Lorraine Neeson, Aaron Stapleton and Hannah Fitz.


Curators Maeve Lynch and Sophie Behal

“The Deleuzian philosophical idea of ‘the mind is the screen’ is central to the curation of the works and the experimental filmic nature of the exhibition.”


John Smith ‘The Black Tower’

Upon entering the space you are greeted by Hannah Fitz’s Dog, nudging you towards the room to the right which housed John Smith’s The Black Tower. It was a pleasure to see this iconic film by John Smith and the echo of this evident in Aaron Stapleton’s John enhanced the comic and slightly eery atmosphere in the space.

Camden Palace Hotel inhabited Boyles for the weekend, a celebration of their artists took over two floors of the building. Peter Missing whose work had been on display around Cork for the month of May was the main feature downstairs with the full length of the left of the building occupied by his paintings. Upstairs provided a an array of art in various media, the two highlights of this space receiving formal recognition by the Screaming Pope Prize.

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Tralee IT MA Creative Media students and graduates provided some of the most interesting pieces on display this year. Current student Laurence Counihan, whose graduate exhibition opens in Kerry County Museum next Thursday 11th June, investigates the use of algorithmic and generative computer processes applied to the creation of sound and images. The influence of experimental 20th century composers is evident in the sound piece, and the images draw inspiration from minimalist abstraction, and early video game graphics.


MA Creative Media graduates SYN Studio occupied the space on the second floor of The Goat, their audio visual installation demonstrates the fundamental role sound plays in our everyday lives and the world around us. They used surround sound and projection mapping to establish a link between these two very distinctive arts forms (audio and visual).

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2014 Creative Media graduate Danielle Swanser uses “an illustrative style to represent the corruption and degeneration of memories and identity over time.” Her illustrations of the local doors of Killorglin were bright and sharp but the addition of mini generated poems on the reverse of each gave another level of meaning.   Using projection-mapping techniques, Danielle counteracts the fundamental nature of the accumulation of photographs as memories by allowing these images to be subjected to deterioration over time by the stories and words that create the memories themselves.

The Old Mill was the location for the Screaming Pope Prize which took place on Sunday 31st May at 9pm. The Screaming Pope Prize is a new arts award exclusively organised as part of K-fest Music and the Arts Festival. It recognises outstanding achievement; we encourage the pursuit of excellence and promote the highest standards of quality in professional, technical and personal achievement in the visual arts by conferring the industry’s newest and soon to be most coveted peer recognition symbol of distinction, the Screaming Pope Prize. This year’s judges were Rebekah Wall, Alan Ryan Hall and a new addition Karl Wallace. The three judges come from diverse backgrounds which helped balance out the panel and which no doubt affected the outcome of the results this year. All of the finalists represented the spirit of Kfest and excelled in their chosen medium. The four finalists this year were Laura Poff 3rd year LSAD student, Pawel Wroblewski from Camden Palace Hotel, Martina Furlong and Tom McClean in the curated space by Daire Lynch.

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LSAD student Laura Poff’s explores gestural, repetitive and obsessive mark making techniques to create abstracted forms. Watch this space as her work looks very promising indeed at this stage.  


This year’s winner proved to be very popular which was evident from the joyful noise that filled the room at the Old Mill. Lorraine McDonnell was a finalist for last year’s award and you can tell from her piece from the previous year on display in The Goat that she was only pipped to the post. Lorraine McDonnell graduated from the Crawford College of Art & Design in 2005 with a B.A (Hons) Degree in Fine Art and works from her studio in Camden Palace Hotel, Cork. I had the pleasure of seeing Lorraine work on one of her canvases in her space in Boyles on Sunday afternoon. Her talent is evident and as Rebekah Wall said “we will be reading about her in years to come, she is what I believe emerging art is at this time”.


I couldn’t recommend Kfest Music and Art enough, the diversity of art and the atmosphere of the town was electric at the weekend. The work of all the team at Kfest should be commended as it gives you hope for the future of the arts in Ireland. I look forward to seeing the Screaming Pope Prize finalists work again when it goes on tour around Ireland. Keep you eyes peeled for that as it will give you a taste of what you expect when you travel to Killorglin next year!


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