BY SEÁN P. FEENY
A NEW exhibition by a highly-regarded Donegal-based artist opens her new exhibition with a very special opening launch tomorrow, May 30. Selena Mowat, originally from Inverness in Scotland, presents her first major exhibition, (Be)longing, at the Glebe Gallery, Churchill, since moving to the county years ago.
The artist rose to international fame when she won last year’s Irish final of Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year which was screened in the autumn. A graduate Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (University of Dundee), where she also taught for six years, Selena went on to compete in the overall finals where she painted former model and author Sophie Dahl in Paris and exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in London.
This, her first major solo exhibition, is a collection of 30 portraits and 20 landscapes, painted in Donegal, Scotland and Germany over the past six months.
She said: “The exhibition is called (Be)longing as it’s central theme is about the sense of belonging to a place and I painted the works in three different places.”
Selena painted portraits of people in all these places, but also ran an online competition where she invited the many followers she had during her time on Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year to send pictures of themselves of which she chose some to paint.
“It’s much harder to paint a portrait of someone you don’t know. Knowing someone’s personality is hugely important when you are painting their portrait.”
Selena said with her landscapes, it’s ‘all about the process’ as she begins painting something using various forms of inspiration, from memory, photographs and more to create her abstract landscapes which often feature figures.
Selena also has a number of special guests performing at her launch which will feature music from the talented Rann na Feirste group Clann Mhic Ruairi, spoken word performances by Andrew Galvin and Lbhe Ai and special soundscapes made by Ruairi Friel and Aoife Foley.
“I am really looking forward to the night. I think the connection between the arts, from visual, spoken word to music, is very important. I spend a lot of time on my own in a studio, so I love getting out and collaborating with other artists,” she laughed.
Selena is also a talented singer and musician to boot having joined forces with with Letterkenny singers Leila Keeney and Aoife Foley to form the trio, The Apaches, who have gained a loyal following and are performing at this year’s Swell Festival on Arranmore (June 11-13).
Selena Mowat’s exhibition (Be)longing opens tonight at 7pm in the Glebe Gallery and will run until July 1 at the renowned Churchill gallery. Admission is FREE.
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