The Drawing Box: Virtual Exhibition
The Drawing Box pop up A5 expo of unframed works will be online hosted by Galway Arts Centre's website and social from 12-16 January 2021. Catch this show virtually before it goes on its physical global tour during 2021-22 featuring 322 drawings in all media by 60+ international and national artists from the collective made before and during the pandemic. The drawing box would like to acknowledge the support of Galway Arts Office who have funded this online event and Talie Mau Designs for her digital design of the virtual exhibition and catalogue of works.
Exhibition opening speech – James Harrold, Galway City Arts Office
It speaks for itself, really, as you have done a great job. All I could add is how wonderful it is to welcome a project originated by the legendary Di Henshaw, the doyenne of Arts Officers in Northern Ireland, and what a characteristically thoughtful initiative it is, as a positive pro-artist response to lockdown. The artworks are exceptional, featuring many really brilliant pieces from outstanding artists from Ireland and from all over the world. It’s a wonderful survey of contemporary artmaking, captured in the very democratic A5 format. The works are all very affordable and completely desirable; the presentation is excellent, allowing time for the artworks to breathe, to imprint themselves. The entire film is beguiling: I can imagine it on loop in a variety of lockdown contexts to charm, entice divert. Congratulations to Páraic Breathnach and Galway Arts Centre and to Adrienne M. Finnerty for making it all happen. It is a pleasure for Galway City Arts Office to join with the Northern Ireland Arts Council in supporting the initiative. It would be wonderful to see the exhibition off-line, in reality on the walls of Galway Arts Centre but for now as we stay at home it’s the perfect start to our new year of quality visual art engagement via the internet.
Good luck Adrienne!”
The Drawing Box - an international platform for the arts
The idea of changing the ethos of the Drawing Box and creating a private online platform for its members re-kindled in March 2020 after 8 years of inactivity. The Drawing Box social media Facebook group was originally established in Winter 2012 with founding members John Crabtree, Andrew Crane & Patil Rajendra by Diane Henshaw - the idea of the group was to link artists within a national and international context who had an interest in contemporary drawing and global networking; this went on to manifest itself in the form of a major small works unframed and unfunded touring exhibition & online network for members - eventually the original drawing box expo went to archive and was gifted post international tour to The National Irish Visual Arts Library in Dublin.
In 2020 Diane Henshaw- whilst on furlough from her usual job as Arts Officer for Fermanagh & Omagh District Council decided to re-initiate the activities of the original and growing members group by inviting 51 selected and culturally diverse members to post pre-recorded studio video clips and stills of art work with some online engagement associated with their creative practice during lockdown. During lockdown the Arts Council of Northern Ireland awarded Diane some emergency C19 arts funding to administrate the studio visits for the group, curate our touring shows to both Mumbai in 2021 and this major tour of international arts. We would like to thank them for this assistance as well as those who contributed to our social media fundraiser during December 2020.
The programming during 2020/21 has helped to give artists hope and some unique and unusual opportunities to be profiled internationally through the networks created as well as through programming being developed – e.g. meet the artist online studio visits and exhibitions.
This drawing event as part of a plethora of a 10 strand small work touring event during 2021-22 - creating art for arts sake, for sanity during these days of isolation and thus connecting artists – open up new ways for creative engagement discussions hosted through Zoom, art critique and other modes through which contextual practice can thrive. A key focus of the events and programming has been to visually nurture members and their interests by sharing information, by creating connections, and in general being there for each other.
This exhibition is a specifically curated event, featuring small scaled A5 drawings x 5 by each artist made during the pandemic. There are many negative impacts the pandemic visited upon the world, the art world. The generosity of spirit and the courage to reach across dictatorship of differences, the initiative of each of our host artists and the host venues in some way define our ways out of the paralysis Covid 19 visited upon us. Drawing Box group feels privileged to connect with their take on values.
Tour post Galway continues to:
April Athens, Greece
June New Delhi, India
8. August New Mexico
Nov Ghent, Belgium
Dec Gronegan Nètherlands
Jan 2022 Argyl Scotland