The Mart Project | Stories of a Community.
The Mart Project _ Stories of a Community
From a young age, artist Laura Earley's fascination with Roscommon's local livestock marts was sparked. Despite her farming background, she hadn't encountered a mart until she embarked on this endeavour in April 2021. The artist's intrigue led her to delve into the community, exploring the traditions, rituals, and customs that shape the essence of Co. Roscommon.
Founded in the late 1950s, the Roscommon Co-Operative Livestock Mart stands as the pioneer mart in Connacht. For over six decades, it has remained pivotal in the agricultural landscape of County Roscommon, playing a crucial role in the lives of rural inhabitants and Roscommon town residents alike.
Throughout the county, the artist attended local marts, capturing her encounters through a combination of photography and audio recordings. The participation of those intricately linked to this community was integral to her exploration, and this was facilitated by the Roscommon County Council Creative Ireland Programme, funded through the Creativity in Older Age Fund 2021.
In her research phase, a visit to the National Folklore Collection at University College Dublin inspired the artist to gather audio recordings from community members, which serves as the focal point of the exhibition. These recordings aimed to collect and share stories and recollections, nurturing the remembrance of farming experiences from both the past and present. The artist conducted recording sessions in participants' homes and local nursing homes.
With a lens trained on the lively sales of the livestock marts, the artist amassed an extensive assortment of photographs captured in various marts across the county, including locations such as Roscommon town, Castlerea, and Elphin. Complementing these visuals is an artist-created installation, spotlighting objects commonly associated with these mart environments, adding a playful element to the exhibition. The resultant body of work comes to life through a multi-sensory exhibition that engages auditory, visual, and tactile senses.
This initiative, titled 'The Mart Project - Stories of a Community,' receives support from the Roscommon County Council Creative Ireland Programme through the Creativity in Older Age Fund 2021.
Exhibited at Roscommon Arts Centre, Roscommon Town 26th March - 9th April 2022
Stories from the Community
Interview with Michael Earley.
Interview with Laurence Doorley.
Interview with Michael Gilleran
An exclusive edition of a documentary photo book was crafted, featuring a diverse collection of photographs sourced from the exhibition, accompanied by quotes from the participants.
Each individual who took part received a copy of this photo book as a cherished keepsake, serving as both a memento of their involvement and a gesture of gratitude for their enthusiastic support