We introduce an exclusive commissioned project and limited edition run for the Galway International Arts Festival Official Poster 2020.
Galway Artist | Jennifer Cunningham
Theme | We are All Navigators
Size | 540mm (W) x 850 mm(H)
Poster Run | 500 Pieces Exclusive
*Available in Festival Gallery (Shop Street) framed and un-framed for duration of festival
We are all Navigators
"Great works of art are only great because they are accessible and comprehensible to everyone." - Leo Tolstoy
Galway International Arts Festival had a huge impact on me growing up, with the colour and joy it brought to the city each year. For example, one of the first events that sticks out in my memory was when Gulliver washed up at Grattan Beach. It was a huge honour to be considered to design a poster for this year’s Festival, and hugely uplifting to have someone put their faith in you in these incredibly uncertain times. Art seeks to make sense of everything; it helps us to process and come to terms with the things in life that we can’t really control and can’t really explain.
We discussed various ideas relating to the theme of Galway and decided a piece depicting the Festival Big Top and Olivier Grossetête’s The People Build would be perfect as it evokes memories of a more carefree time. It was a collective performance orchestrated by the artist before the advent of social distancing which allowed Galwegians the opportunity to gather together to build an unusual, ephemeral and ultimately useless building, to experience a sense of adventure and perhaps a trip back to their own childhoods.
I wanted to evoke my own childhood memories in this poster. The image draws on a utopianism that is based in nostalgia, but also acts as a bridge between now and a more optimistic future. The children in the boat are navigating their way through this uncertain time, with the child in the yellow jacket symbolising hope, rather like the lost aviator meeting the little prince.
I produced the work by layering golden washes of colour to create a deceptive dreaminess. They are layered and sanded back so that there is an inherent ambiguity in the form of the pieces. Drips of paint contrast with meticulous drawings, which recall architectural drawings or plans. While the figures themselves are detailed, their surroundings dissolve into washes, streaks, and hazes of delicate, near translucent colours, giving the image a kind of dream-like, hallucinogenic quality.