Between childhood and adulthood, how do young teenagers make sense of the world around them? During 2014, we invited a group of 13-year-old girls from Scoil Carmel to explore themes of identity, community and space through a series of creative workshops. Their responses and ideas are at the centre of Fresh Visionaries and prompted us to call other young creators from Limerick and beyond to submit their artworks for an inclusive exhibition showing the world seen through the eyes of 11–14 year olds.
How did it all come to being?
We started this project with a mission to give a voice to 13-year-olds in our city. We wanted to explore themes of identity, community and space, have insightful discussions and show that 13 year olds have great ideas. That is what we thought it was going to be…
But wait a minute, what do we know about 13-year-olds?
Shortly after starting the workshops, we realised that what we thought we knew is rather what we imagined and wanted them to be: full of excitement to discuss the ideas, open up their thoughts, speak their minds and hearts, dying to be able to put together an exhibition in an art gallery. But this age is a tricky one. Somewhere between being a child (this curious creature that is amazed by everything and not afraid to say anything) and a young adult (who can make their own decisions, learn to be assertive and know how to communicate their feelings), they realised already that what they say and do defines them but they are still figuring out how to express themselves. We realised that we had to let them do it their way, in the end it’s all about them!
This exhibition shows the visual outcomes of our work and what you see here in Ormston House will give you a glimpse of how 11 -14 year olds see the world. What we have learned from our participants is that sometimes what’s most significant is not what we produce but the process of producing, being together in this particular time and space and trying to figure each other out.
Special thanks to Tom Shortt, Joan Stack, Cealan Bristow, Shona Maguire, Aislinn O’Donnell, Des Farrell and the Ormston House team for their contributions to the project.
Admission is free and all are welcome.