Today, Aosdána, the affiliation of
creative artists in Ireland, elects 1 new member at its annual General Assembly
in O’Reilly Hall, UCD Belfield. The newly elected member is Jesse Jones and
brings the membership to 250 members.
At the meeting, members
expressed their deep sadness at the deaths of former members: in 2019 Micky
Donnelly; Ciaran Carson; Ulick O’Conor; Tom McIntyre; Sonja Landweer: in 2020
Veronica Bolay; Joe O nEachtain; Janet Mullarney; Tim Robinson; Michael Cullen;
Eric Sweeney; Eugene McCabe; Derek Mahon, Felim Egan; Julia O Faolain: in 2021
David Shaw Smith; Seamus Deane; John Kinsella: and most recently in 2022
Pauline Bewick. All of whom have died since the 40th General
Assembly was held in University College Cork in 2019. A minute's silence was
observed in their memory as well as a photo collage of images of all these
former members displayed for all to see. No General Assembly took place in 2020
or 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions. During these two years the election of
new members took place by postal vote in place of an actual Assembly.
The Aosdána General Assembly featured
the launch of Aosdána Beginnings by Mark Duncan in celebration of the 40th
anniversary of Aosdána. Published by the Arts Council the book will be made
available via the Arts Council web site and online. Mark O Kelly, Council
Member, launched the publication with Mark Duncan speaking at the launch. The
publication is an illustrated text of historical and cultural significance
which tells the history of Aosdána and how it was founded. It highlights the artistic work of members as individual
artists paying particular attention to the Saoithe as well as incorporating all
five disciplines: Literature; Visual Art; Music; Choreography; Architecture. It
lists the original 89 members appointed in 1981 and outlines all members
elected since 1984.
The Assembly also introduced work by
students of UCD College of Arts and Humanities. The event concluded with author
Anne Enright delivering a eulogy to Anthony Cronin, former founding member of
Aosdána and Saoi.
Aosdána, founded in 1981, honours
artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the creative arts in
Ireland, and assists members in devoting their energies fully to their
art. Membership of Aosdána, which is by peer nomination and election, is
limited to 250 living artists, who have produced a distinguished body of work.
The membership includes creative artists working in a wide range of disciplines
including architecture, choreography, music, literature and visual art.
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