Sugán Pilot Project in Ballygar leads annual Carnival August 1st

> Riona Durkan

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Galway continues to relish in the news of it’s recent designation of European Capital of Culture for 2020 and such is the cultural appetite and energy permeating throughout the city and county that it’s all stations go to bring a Galway 2020 pilot project to reality as Small Towns Big Ideas, Ballygar 2020 comes to life for the August Bank Holiday Monday of 2016. The first of many cultural initiatives as Galway gets set to host a year long programme of cultural initiatives and events in 2020.

The Súgán art piece from the Ballygar 2020 Meitheal project of Small Towns Big Ideas will lead the parade of the Ballygar Carnival and form an art installation in the town square as part of the annual traditional fair day on the August Bank Holiday Monday from 10am.

An Súgán is an artist and community led project inspired by the idea of meitheal, people working together and weaving rural traditions into the fabric of modern cultural aspirations. In recent months as part of the Galway 2020 pilot project campaign artists have worked with school and community groups to create music, video, hay ropes and hay dolls, sculptures while stimulating conversations on the topic of culture and freedom throughout Ballygar.

This inspiration will now become a reality 4 years ahead of 2020 such is the desire and hunger to mobilise the energy from Galway 2020 engagement of the recent eighteen months. Internationally renowned philosopher and Ballygar native, Professor Philip Pettit addressed and conversed with a public gathering in the ‘Old Courthouse’ on the notions of culture and freedoms for our communities in the world today.

ARTFarm artist Sheila Flanagan has coordinated the project and worked with local artist Claudia Keegan to engage a broad range of community groups and schools in talking about their dreams and hopes for the future while simultaneously creating an hefty Súgán.

An Súgán exhibition stand will showcase the work of the artists involved and will give real life, hands on activities for adults and children alike in order maximise contributions to the artistic creation of An Súgán across the Ballygar community and beyond.

In addition Visual Artist Ceara Conway will show her film created with the Ballygar Church Choir from a musical reinterpretation of ‘Casadh an tSugain’ and conversations with local people. The ‘Cailleach’, a greenwood sculpture by local artist, Leon Pacuret will lead the Carnival parade surrounded by sound-making attendants.

Louise Holian, theatre and drama artist will run storytelling activities for all children who visit the Sugan stand.

A dedicated space, the Sanctuary, will be built on the day by Artist Noel Arrigan using the Sugan ropes and all visitors will be ‘roped in’ for more hay and straw crafts. Ballygar born Poet, Margaret Hannigan Popp, has composed a special An Súgán poem which will feature on the exhibition stand.

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