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Copper Craft Exhibition in support of Peace and Reconciliation

Published on:  18 Dec 2013

Special Unveiling Of Collaborative Art Work ‘Eitilt Anama’ (Soul Flight),

Building a Shared Future for Communities in Louth, Tyrone, Armagh and Down


On Friday (13th December), local community representatives came together at the Stephenstown Pond conference centre in Knockbridge, Dundalk for a special exhibition to celebrate the completion of the Hand Beaten Copper Craft & Reconciliation Project. Funded by the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), the two-year project brought together individuals from both sides of the border to explore attitudes to peace and reconciliation via the medium of copper.


The project formed part of a wider Music and Craft at the Pond initiative funded by the IFI under its Community Based Economic and Social Regeneration Programme and administered by the Stephenstown Pond Trust with the aim of delivering cross community training courses and activities in Counties Louth, Tyrone, Armagh and Down.


The project saw participants from both communities come together to acquire skills in hand-beaten copper craft, one of Ireland’s oldest traditional skills. Supported by local hand-beaten copper craftsmiths and project facilitators, Shane and Roddy McCollum, participants worked closely together to design and produce individual sculptures representing their personal understanding of reconciliation on the island of Ireland and their interpretation of what peace means to them. The course was also facilitated by dedicated workshops where participants explored the challenges faced by both communities and shared their experiences of the troubles and peace process.


Friday’s exhibition showcased the individual works of art created by the course participants during the project and included an unveiling of a major collaborative sculpture titled ‘Eitilt Anama’ (Soul Flight), representing birds in flight and reflecting the project’s theme of peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland. 


Geraldine McCullagh, project co-ordinator, said: “On behalf of everyone involved in this project, I would like to acknowledge the generous support we’ve received from the International Fund for Ireland for this important reconciliation initiative. The project has been a great success by enabling participants to work together and learn from each other’s experiences of the peace process.”


“By addressing some of the issues that have held communities in the area back from interacting and working together, the project has led to real benefits on the ground - both among the participants and the families but also the wider community. It has helped break down barriers and open the way toward a shared future by developing friendships between people who may otherwise not have met outside this project.”


Speaking at the event, David Graham, Board Member of the International Fund for Ireland stated that the Fund is committed to the long-term task of breaking down traditional barriers and helping to build positive relations and contact between the two main communities on the island of Ireland.


Mr Graham said: “The sculpture unveiled here today is a powerful symbol of the Peace process. It is a fine example of what can be achieved when we work together and share our experiences and traditions. As such, the Copper Craft project has been tremendously successful in bringing participants from both traditions together, fostering greater collaboration and forging lasting relationships. We believe this project will continue to have a very positive impact for reconciliation and promoting greater cross-community links in the area.”


Mr Graham also expressed a collective thanks to the international donors who have supported the work of the International Fund for Ireland for more than twenty-five years: namely, the United States of America, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.


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