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Why the Butterfly

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Did you know butterflies can’t hear? Most butterflies rely on vision and smell to communicate – not dissimilar to deaf people – and are an important symbol for the deaf community. As part of Claire Halpin’s work about the Tolka River Valley with the Deaf Village, Cabra and St Malachy’s Primary School, Finglas, artwork has been shared back and forth across the river from Finglas to Cabra and back again, one group taking inspiration from the other. A culmination of their work will be an installation of butterflies, made on both sides of the Tolka, at the atrium in the Deaf Village in Cabra on April 17th. St Malachy’s will take advantage of the opportunity to take a tour of the Deaf Village, learn some basic sign language, see their work installed and meet the older group of deaf people who have been collaborating with them, remotely, across the river.

Have a look at this gorgeous video to get some behind the scenes on the project to date:

For many in Deaf Village Ireland, this was their first time making art since childhood and now they are looking forward to see their work exhibited alongside St Malachy’s in the Deaf Village on April 17th as part of an event with Dublin’s Culture Connects. It has been a wonderful experience working with the deaf community as part of The National Neighbourhood over the last few months. It is has even inspired some of the Dublin’s Culture Connects staff to start an ISL (Irish Sign Language) course where once a week the group meet with Wendy for a different kind of conversation – one without words, lots of gestures and expressions, and of course plenty of fun. We hope the children of St. Malachy’s have as much fun on the 17th learning some of the basics as we did! Plus we can’t wait to see what the budding artists have in store for us as they present their artwork and installation of butterflies in the Deaf Village. Our hearts are fluttering in anticipation…

With the National Neighbourhood, we want every neighbourhood to know and “own” their city’s cultural resources so we build cultural projects in community settings. We connect artists, groups and villages with libraries, museums and creative places to deepen their understanding of each other and themselves.

The National Neighbourhood spans the Dublin City Council region, and brings together Dublin City Council’s City Library & Archive, the area offices, the City Arts Office and Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, in partnership with National Cultural Institutions (The Abbey Theatre, The National Museum of Ireland, The National Library of Ireland, The National Gallery of Ireland, The National Concert Hall, The Chester Beatty Library, The National Archives and The Irish Museum of Modern Art).

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