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Patsy & Betty O’Rourke with granddaughter Chloe Keating and Patsy’s portrait by artist Mark Fisher. Pic: Alf Harvey


Laois exhibition celebrates older people's experiences

3 min read

Laois exhibition celebrates older people's experiences

3 min read


Laois exhibition celebrates older people's experiences

Recently opened at Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, the Fadó Faces exhibition is celebrating the lives and stories of older people in County Laois.

Showcasing traditional portrait painting and digital art by a selection of talented local artists – Bronagh Conroy, Aishling Hennessy, Ray Murphy, Kevin McCann, Mike Rafter, Pauline Conroy, Antoinette Breen, Kate Deegan, Allen Scully, and Mark Fisher – the exhibition is part of Creative Ireland Laois’ Creativity in Older Age 2022 initiative.

Speaking about this inclusive project, artist and exhibition creator Kevin McCann said:

“Fadó Faces brings together the faces of older people in our county and I’m very happy that myself and the nine other exhibiting artists in our 2022 exhibition can yet again pay homage to the lives of our sitters, with portraiture as the genre used to connect the artists to their subjects.”

Far from just a visual art project, Fadó Faces also preserves important local oral histories as the artists photographed and recorded personal stories from each of their subjects too. Revealing the unique experiences of people who grew up in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, these recordings shed light on the stark differences between life then and now. The exhibition serves as a creative way of telling and more importantly, preserving these stories.

Beginning in 2021 as an outdoor drive-by art exhibition, the goal is to continue the Fadó Faces series over five years until 2025. By then, the project will have engaged with 100 older people in Laois – culminating in a rich and diverse archive celebrating the lives and invaluable stories of the local community.

Laois Arts Officer and Creative Ireland Coordinator, Muireann Ni Chonaill described the exhibition as “a unique experience where you may happen upon one of your neighbours or perhaps an acquaintance, or a complete stranger from another part of the county. It is meaningful as you look at their portraits and read their stories and connect with them through their lived experiences, whether it is about joy, loss or memories.”

Above: Artist Pauline Conroy with Eileen McFadden and Eileen’s portrait. Pic: Alf Harvey

Fadó Faces: Culture Night

To celebrate Culture Night 2022, a live sketching workshop with an older adult/sitter facilitated by artist Allen Scully of Fadó Faces will take place in the Gallery at Dunamaise Arts Centre on Friday September 23, 6pm-7.30pm

Suitable for artists/creatives of all ages and levels of experience, simply bring your own materials and tools, e.g. sketchbook, paper, pencils, etc, and enjoy 90 minutes of live sketching with the sitter providing a number of different poses to observe and engage with.  

Booking essential as places are limited, call Dunamaise Arts Centre on 057 866 3355 or email

Fadó Faces runs at Dunamaise Arts Centre from 19 August – 30 September 2022, Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm.

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