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JJ Clarke Photo Exhibit


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JJ Clarke – Genius Photographer – Performance and Public Space Community Project

The aim of Iontas is to provide, promote and foster the vision and the space for initiative and innovation in personal and community development, and this happens through all kinds of educational, creative and artistic endeavours.

From 2018, Creative Monaghan programme has supported a very innovative and ambitious inter-disciplinary project to foster cultural and creative engagement in the community. The project from the start had a very clear community focus, not only to heighten awareness and appreciation among local people of the remarkable photographic legacy of JJ Clarke, but in the contemporary methodologies for community engagement through participatory processes.

JJ Clarke (1879-1961)

JJ Clarke (1879-1961) was a doctor from Castleblayney. Upon his death, an extraordinary collection of hitherto unknown photographs he had taken was discovered. He captured better than any of his contemporaries, the Dublin of James Joyce. But his collection also includes rare images of his home town, dating to an intense period of c1904-05 when he was a student. Although the collection is a treasure of the National Library, beautifully evoking lost worlds of children, bustling squares and public spaces, his work was not widely known, even in his home county.

The JJ Clarke Project worked collaboratively with historians, photographers, community actors, local children, public spaces and brought to life in theatrical vignettes unique urban performances, a new play, a travelling exhibition, lectures and talks. This project is an excellent example of the Creative Ireland Programme, with a multi-disciplinary collaboration approach, which supports communities to engage with high quality arts experiences, whilst celebrating local cultural heritage and embracing their own creative potential.

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