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"Much Loved" exhibition lined up for Elemental 2014


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Pictured at the announcement of the Much Loved exhibition forming part of this year's Elemental festival in Limerick (L-R) Pius McGrath and Jennifer Allen, both of Elemental Festival, Bernadette Kenny of The Blue Box, 'Ted',
Pictured at the announcement of the Much Loved exhibition forming part of this year's Elemental festival in Limerick (L-R) Pius McGrath and Jennifer Allen, both of Elemental Festival, Bernadette Kenny of The Blue Box, 'Ted',
2014-08-11 19:26:13 - A whimsical, bittersweet collection of photographs of well-worn, but well-loved stuffed animals by one of Ireland’s top portrait photographers is among the highlights of the 3rd annual Elemental Arts & Culture Festival, which takes place Limerick from 11th September to 14th September 2014.

“Much Loved” by award-winning Dublin-based portrait photographer Mark Nixon will be held at 69 O'Connell Street and hosted in collaboration with The Blue Box Creative Learning Centre, a facility which provides music and art therapy for children across Limerick City.

"Viewers have been intrigued by these funny, bittersweet images and their ironic juxtaposition of childhood innocence and aged, loving wear and tear. When you see these teddy bears and bunnies with missing noses and undone stuffing, you can’t help but think back to childhood and its earliest companions who asked for nothing and gave a lot back, "explained Jennifer Allen, Elemental's artistic director.

Ms. Allen added: “As soon as we saw the "Much Loved" book, we were totally drawn in and

decided we had to ask Mark if he would be interested in featuring some of the portraits as part of Elemental's programme. We could also see a very strong link between the theme behind Mark's exhibition and the work the Blue Box do with young children. The Blue Box is all about providing a safe place for children to deal with difficult situations, using creativity as the medium.”

Bernadette Kenny, CEO of the Blue Box commented: “We work with children that have experienced some form of trauma. Part of the therapy, through creative arts, is to work on attachment. There is nothing like a teddy bear to be a transitional friend. He or she can be with you through ups and downs and for the rest of your life. I know this personally as my 'Ted' has been with me over many decades.”

Mark Nixon is a two-time winner of Overseas Photographer of the Year (British Photographic Awards) and winner of Irish Photographer of the Year (Irish Professional Photographers Association).

Speaking ahead of the exhibition launch, Nixon said: "The well-worn toys show battle scars of being the prized possessions of children and cherished companions that have seen many a repair as different parts start wearing down."

'Much Loved' will launch at 7pm Thursday 11th of September at 69 O'Connell Street, Limerick. Elemental runs until Sunday September 14th. See www.elementalfestival.com, Facebook (ElementalArtsLimerick) or Twitter (@elementallmk) for more.


Mark Dunphy

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