Women’s art collective making waves in Limerick and beyond

Rennie Buenting, Lara Grufferty, Sinéad Cuneen Williams, Carol Kennedy, Angelina Foster. Sibéal Riordan, Eva Byrne - Credit Mná na nEalaín

Art collective member shares inspiring words about creative expression

By Alison Barry

The Mná na nEalaín collective, made up of talented female artists across a diverse range of disciplines, has come a long way since its inception in early 2021. With plans to host an exhibition in honour of International Women’s Day next year, the group has already made a name for itself through the individual contributions of its members, who have received numerous awards for their outstanding work in the arts.   

Bantracht. Photo by Mná na nEalaín

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Mná na nEalaín persevered through remote collaboration until lockdown restrictions eased, when they were eager to showcase their work in person.  

The collective consists of both emerging and versatile female artists with specialities across numerous disciplines, with members having won awards for individual contributions to the arts.  

The collective held “Meet the Maker” events online every week, which included videos from members displaying their different practises, which range from performance art, literature, illustration, visual art, printmaking, photography, painting, art facilitation and production, sculpture, and curating.  

This exposure online “opened doors” for Mná na nEalaín, and is what led to their exhibition ‘Bantracht’ which was presented at Treaty City Brewery in Limerick city in honour of St. Brigid’s day.  

Bantracht is a touring exhibition,and will be travelling to Nenagh for the month of March.   

“Go Vee Stay” by Lara Grufferty.Photo by Mná na nEalaín

Art collective member Lara Grufferty believes that having a support system in place helped members develop into a peer network. 

“Mná na nEalaín means women of the arts, it’s taken from Ban na hEireann and Iníon na hEireann and Mná na hEireann rebel groups, so if you are a woman or you identify as female and you’re practising in Ireland, or if you’re an Irish female artist practising abroad then you are part of mná na nEalaín. You are a woman of the arts, and that’s not just visual arts, that’s performing arts, that’s music, theatre, any type of creative expression you are part of us,” she explained.   

“So, share your work, do what you can, and when times get tough, don’t give up.” 

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