Convoy artist brings ‘Local Legends’ to life

A scene from the battle of Magh Ithe.

A scene from the battle of Magh Ithe, by Nathan Keys.

AN innovative young Convoy artist has burned images of local mythological legends and events on to old chairs in order to promote Ireland’s great culture of storytelling.

Nathan Keys (22), a pyrographer, will display his wares at the ‘Local Legends’ exhibition which will open this evening (Friday) at 7:30 pm in the Balor Arts Centre in Ballybofey. The project is a joint collaboration with Sligo painter, Jeni Kennedy.


“This exhibition is the second instalment of an ongoing project to promote one of Irelands great cultures – storytelling,” Mr Keys told the Donegal News this week.

“We aim to educate the young and older minds with myths and legends that relate to our landscape, giving many places their name. We do this by creating artwork with mediums such as painting and pyrography and using materials that have there own history.”

Indeed, many of Nathan’s beautiful and intricate works appear on wood pieces recovered from old unwanted chairs that were used in St Mary’s Hall in Convoy. The chairs were for dumping, however, the local artist had other ideas for them.


Nathan Keys.

Both artists’ work has been inspired by extracts from 9th and 11th century books on mythology such as ‘Lebor Gabala Erenn’ (book of invasions) and ‘The Training of Cu Chulainn’.

Currently housed in the Royal Academy in London, Lebor Gabála Érenn is a collection of poems and prose narratives that purports to be a history of Ireland and the Irish from the creation of the world to the Middle Ages.

Nathan Keys is a volunteer set designer at the Balor Theatre who hopes to become a full-time pyrographer. He will be starring as Prince Charming in the upcoming Butt Drama Circle Production of ‘Cinderella.’


The Local Legends exhibition opens this evening at 7:30 pm in the Balor Arts Centre and everyone is welcome to come along to have a look, or buy any of the items on display. The exhibition will run for the next two weeks.

For full report, see today’s (Friday) Donegal News or subscribe to our digital edition.

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