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A balancing act - Aughnacloy’s Journey to Peace

Thursday 9th January 2014 at 11am 0 Comments Building Peace through the Arts: Re-Imaging Communities

Artist Gwen Stevenson pictured with members of the Spring Chickens group based in Aughnacloy Image: Artist Gwen Stevenson pictured with members of the Spring Chickens group based in Aughnacloy

The community in Aughnacloy is amongst the first to have taken part in a creative engagement process funded under the Building Peace through the Arts programme. This local consultation is the first step towards developing a piece of public art for the village that reflects Aughnacloy’s rich culture and history whilst addressing sectarianism and racism.

Local resident and experienced artist, Gwen Stevenson, delivered a series of workshops which investigated potential themes for the artwork and other considerations such as site selection.  Through engaging with key groups, individuals, local school children, young people and older people, Gwen has been able to finalise an artist’s brief for the artwork which will be an iconic landmark for Aughnacloy with the theme of “A Balancing Act: Aughnacloy’s Journey”.

Speaking about the outcome of the process, Gwen said;

“Aughnacloy has achieved relative peace brought about through the balancing act that is the peace process and the desire of local people to accommodate differences for the sake of providing a safe environment for their children and grandchildren. The artwork will look to the future rather than the past suggesting the metaphorical journey that has taken by Aughnacloy since it was known as a checkpoint town to reach the relative stability enjoyed today.

The town’s location on the main Dublin to Derry/L’Derry/Donegal road and on one of the main routes from Armagh to Enniskillen means that there is a constant traffic of vehicles and travellers throughout the day and night. The artwork which will be located in the diamond area of the village may suggest the physical journeys taken by the many people passing through Aughnacloy.”

Ann Ward, Arts Council of Northern Ireland added; “I am delighted that the community have benefited from the experience of meaningful creative engagement, resulting in the development of this unique theme.  I look forward to supporting the Aughnacloy steering group on their journey towards the realisation of a legacy artwork for the village.’


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