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Biden beguiled by Mayo culture in Castlebar

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WARMLY WELCOMED Marie Farrell chats to US Vice President Joe Biden during his visit to The Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar. Also pictured is Orla Henihan (Arts Access Officer at The Linenhall). Pic: Courtesy of Oisín Herraghty.


Ciara Moynihan

US Vice President Joe Biden sampled a slice of Mayo culture at its finest when he dropped into The Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, during his Mayo visit last Wednesday. He and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny took in an exhibition by Castlebar-based photographer Alison Laredo ‘Ten Weeks that Changed the World’, and ‘Cabinet of Wonders’, a group show curated by visual artist Ian Wieczorek.
Welcoming the dignitaries, Linenhall Director Marie Farrell said that while the Taoiseach is a frequent visitor and has been during his many years of service as a TD for the area, she never thought she would have the pleasure of welcoming the Vice President of the USA.
Alison Laredo’s photographs in ‘Ten Weeks that Changed the World’ chronicle the lead-up to the marriage equality referendum and its eventual passing. They depict the people who spoke out and stood up for equality in the community, providing a moving insight into the intersection of the personal and the political.
‘Cabinet of Wonders’ presents an eclectic series of objects ‘mined from the creative imagination of a selection of contemporary visual artists’, including Fiona Coffey, Sandra Corrigan Breathnach, Medbh Gillard, Sarah Lundy, Bennie Reilly, Mary Ryan, John Waid and the show’s curator Ian Wieczorek. Together, the works comprise and exhibition designed to ‘engage, intrigue, surprise and delight’.
During his visit, the Linenhall presented the Joe Biden with a gift of the recently published arts anthology ‘Winter Pages 1’. The anthology offers stories, essays, reportage, photography and visual arts, along with craft interviews on film, theatre, television, music and much more. The anthology, featuring many of the finest writers and artists working in Ireland and abroad today, is edited by Kevin Barry and Olivia Smith. It includes two short stories by young Mayo writers Colin Barrett and Sally Rooney.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny was presented with Louisburgh native Mike McCormack’s arresting novel ‘Solar Bones’, which was published last month by Tramp Press, a cutting-edge Irish publishing house co-founded by Mayo woman Lisa Coen.
Marie Farrell said she hoped that “both the visit to the exhibitions and the gifts given reflect the centrality of the arts in Irish life, the incredible talent of our many artists who produce outstanding work, and the range and richness of artists living and working in Mayo.”
Certainly both Biden’s and Kenny’s bedside reading has been sorted in style.

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