Self-taught, Ranafast artist Mórag McCafferty is set to launch a collaborative exhibition showcasing the work of over 10 local artists in Caisleáin Óir hotel.
‘The Great Big Art Event’ is a group exhibition that includes artists that work through a variety of mediums, including watercolour, oil paint, silk batik, pop art and photography.
Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh of Áltan will officially open the exhibition this Thursday at 7pm.
The event will run all weekend in the hotel ballroom.
Mórag, from Glasgow, moved to Ranafast to raise her children.
She started an Irish course to learn the language and help her kids with their homework. One of the classes involved learning the colours as gaeilge.
“The teacher gave us some oil paints, brushes and a postcard to copy. That was my first painting.”
When she brought the painting home, her father reminded her of her forgotten love for art when she was younger, and encouraged her to keep going.
The words of her father, who passed shortly after, inspired her to follow her dreams at 40 years old.
The painting sits proudly in her studio, which was once “the granda flat” where her father lived. The room is filled with charm, and a warm glow from the embers of a turf fire.
Her art work is heavily influenced by both the rugged Atlantic coast and the red brick tenements where she grew up.
In 2019 she started selling seriously. She had her first exhibition with a fellow artist Bernie Anderson, who is still by her side.
“It’s really down to her, she encouraged me to promote my work, and without that wee nudge I would probably still be doing nothing and messing around with stuff for my own walls,” she said.
Mórag humbly “touched wood” as she told of her growing success. Her artwork has travelled across the globe, “I have sold to people in New Zealand, Australia, Germany and all over the States.”
She wants to use this event as a way to showcase the work of lesser known artists in the community, who like herself just need a nudge. “They artists that nobody knows, we might pass these people every day in the local shops and say hello, but we don’t know that there’s this side to their lives.”
“I thought, wouldn’t it be fantastic, if for the craic, we got everybody to stick in a few paintings and we will see where it goes. So that happened last year.”
“Our show last year was phenomenal, and maybe that’s because I didn’t know what I was doing,” she laughed.
“Last year, everyone who came was blown away, and all of the artists sold.”
Mórag is very excited for this year’s exhibition, and hopes for it to become an annual event. All of the artists featured are based in Donegal; the show is a way of giving them a platform and celebrating what the county has to offer.
Mórag aims to make art more accessible, “that’s the point of having it in Caisleáin Óir is, it is not like a gallery where people might feel intimidated going in to, anybody can walk into the hotels ballroom and enjoy the art.”
This year is set to be an even bigger success, the artists involved include: Mórag McCafferty, Terence Gallagher, Bernie Anderson, Tina Gallagher, Johnny Boyle, Morgan Ferriter, Cathal Gallagher, Jim Gallagher, Antoin Duffy, Niall McGinley and Fiona Higgins.
Mórag also acknowledged all the hard work and support from the staff in Caisleáin Óir, including: James, Anita and Michelle McDevitt.