Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Lismore launch of Into the Light

The Lismore launch of Into the Light was almost three weeks ago and I simply did not have the energy to write about it. The Exhibition comes to an end tomorrow. 

A few days before the launch Padraig Naughton, Director of Arts and Disability Ireland (ADI), who was to launch the book and exhibition fell ill and was unable to attend. I wish him well.

The ADI organised to have Mary Grehan, Director of Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) to take his place. I was deeply honoured that Ramona from ADI organised this, and equally honoured that Mary was able to come at such short notice. Especially, as she said in her speech, she had been stuck in her 'cave'... the cave that represents the filling in of the huge application to gain the next year's funding for WHAT. 
Thank you!

The ADI forwarded this letter from Padraig:

Good evening, everyone.
It is with regret, and due to health reasons that I am not in attendance tonight, having been honoured by Corina several months ago when she asked me to launch ‘Into the Light’ in Lismore this evening.
Having watched this project since its inception, I am delighted to have spent time with this wondrous ‘book in a box’, which so beautifully reflects Corina’s path and patience in maintaining an arts practice whilst dealing with chronic illness.
Her transition from working in sculpture to new mediums as a result of her ME is illustrative of how many artists with disabilities need to respond to degenerative illness, and her willingness to share these experiences is something that I am happy to champion.
I was delighted to interview Corina for my radio show ‘Arts & Disability Radio’ on Near FM three months ago, in the middle of her hugely successful Fund It campaign, which saw ‘Into the Light’ manifest into the finished work that we are launching here tonight. Her interview was one of the most well-received in the history of the show, which I think shows how heartening and uplifting her work and response to her illness is.
I wish you great success with this exhibition, Corina, and with ‘Into the Light’ in the coming weeks and months. I will finish by reading one of my favourite ‘pages’ from the book, the appropriately titled ‘It Will Pass’.
that we might not be able
to do things
the way we did them

Taking responsibility
not trying to do
what well people do

that we only have to go
through this very

that the longing
 will pass

It was lovely to see so many people at the launch. Locals, friends from Cork, people I had met months ago at Dzogchen Beara whom travelled from Limerick. A dear friend and my sister both travelled from Holland to be with me for this, (what I started to understand) big occasion.
It truly is. The writing of the book is one thing, the publicity is another, but the sharing... That is the most beautiful of this whole  into the light adventure.

Artist and Mindfulness teacher Pascale De Coninck welcoming us all,
and introducing Mary Grehan.

Mary Grehan WHAT giving an amazing speech
Mary told us about her experiences of arts in hospitals - art created during sickness - recalling one patient's question: "Is that what sick people do? paint?" Another patient, a writer, asked during illness, "is there life with this life?"
"Corina shows us a life that is close to nature, that is filled with imagination, and thought, and reflection, with a clear sense of who she is, and the course that she is travelling through this world, and yes there is a life - and art has a big part to play in it"

"... Imagination is not diminishes by serious illness, but expanded..."

"If you didn't know Corina had a serious illness- a very challenging one- if you had only met her through emails etc- you get a sense of a woman with an extraordinary spirit, extraordinary energy, extraordinary determination, ... it comes through in everything - in the care in which she has created this very special treasure box...
The achievement is huge"

My turn to face the audience and say my bit!
Well, I had to follow the very powerful words that Mary mesmerized us with.
I told about my 'cave', how the book came about, the initial seed and the growing of this project ready to be 'harvested' at the launch.  Read a few of the pages.
There were questions from the audience. Biscuits eaten, books signed, photos takes.
Thank you all!

One of my requests was that my guests would write a few words in my copy, which is now a beautiful memory of thoughts, reflections, and well wishes by many, many people. Beautiful!

A photo opportunity with the members of the IWA groups I am a member of
and work with every Monday. More about this soon!

Two versions of my Into the Light book

Article by Christy Parker in the Dungarvan Observer

Since the launch I had two groups coming for talks. The IWA, and the Lismore "No Limits" group.
Both occasions I look back on with great fondness.
I hope to be able to do more talks in time to come, in other locations. Who knows! Please contact me, if you have any suggestions!

The books are continuing to find their way around the world, and I am receiving some truly inspiring emails from complete strangers. Strangers whom have become traveling companions.
What a journey!

If you like your own copy, please visit my shop Into the Light is a limited edition book...