Lighting the Darkness is a collaborative arts and health exhibition presented by ArtWorks. The exhibition celebrates our rich heritage of light and is on display in the Brú Na Bóinne Visitor Centre in Newgrange, County Meath from Sunday 18 December 2011 until Friday 13 January 2012.

Whenever anyone thinks of the shortest day of the year, the 21 December, they think of the minimum length of time we can enjoy daylight. In County Meath, we have another thought, that of the winter’s sunlight penetrating into the entrance chamber of one of our many ancient neolithic tombs. Long before the Egyptian Pyramids our ancestors were harnessing the seasonal timing of the sun and using it to precise effect through engineering. This is a cause for a celebration. A celebration that has continued for over 5000 years.

When considering how to highlight our rich heritage of light I let myself revert to something that has always fascinated me from a young age, that of how sunlight can make the leaves of a tree seem transparent. With this image in mind, our Lighting the Darkness project sets out to showcase this effect. When you think of transparency, you think of glass and when you throw art into the mix you enter into the world of stained glass, an art form and craft we have decided to use to highlight the beauty of nature thats on view in and around our most famous neolithic tomb, Newgrange.

This arts and health collaborative project brings together groups from three different backgrounds: mental health, acquired brain injury and learning disabilities. Each group looked at the theme of nature and light in a variety of different ways. From the mental health sector three day centres participated. In Kells, the group chose the theme of the fruits of the land. In Navan they focused on nature found along a walk named the Ramparts running beside the river Boyne. Dunshaughlin Day Care Centre chose the theme of the hedge rows of County Meath.

Through the brain injury groups, we worked with the Brí members from Louth, Meath and Tallaght. Brí Meath worked on the theme of nature found in and around the meadows that surround Newgrange. Brí Louth created a piece celebrating the worship of the sun and Brí Tallaght looked at the many symbols from across the world that are associated with the sun.

Representing the learning disability sector, a group of service users from Navan Rehabcare looked at the plants and fauna that grow along the river’s edge.

All seven groups are displaying their pieces of art to the public in the Brú Na Bóinne Visitor Centre in Newgrange, County Meath. They are really looking forward to presenting their work to the public in the visitors’ centre, on the 21 December, during the Winter Solstice at 11am. This is a very special time of year in the place that gave them the inspiration for their exhibition Lighting the Darkness. All are welcome!


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