By: Philomena Barry
Dee McKiernan, has had a great love of art for as long as she can remember, and from those early days of drawing and painting at the kitchen table, she has evolved into a well respected local artist in Athlone.
She is self-taught and works with acrylics, watercolors, oils, pastels, pencils, collage, and mixed media. Her work has been displayed in both group and solo exhibitions in counties Westmeath and Roscommon.
She first had the opportunity to exhibit her work as a young woman in the 80s. It was a group exhibition by Athlone Arts Group and she recalls both her nerves at the prospect of showing her art publicly and her pride and relief when her work was very well received by all.
Her first solo exhibition, â€œFrom Doorstep to Dreams,â€ took place in Athlone in 2015, in the building on Custume Place that was, at that time, occupied by Making Space Artists Collective.
She has a great interest in heritage, and this was the focus of her very successful 2017 exhibition â€œThat Which We Inherit,â€ which was on display in the Atrium of the County Buildings in Mullingar. â€œBelonging,â€ displayed in the upstairs gallery area of Vincentâ€™s on Church Street, Athlone, also took place in 2017; her art was back in Vincentâ€™s this past January as part of Making Spaceâ€™s â€œWelcome to 2019â€ exhibition.
Dee is also very passionate about arts and health and really believes that there is a role that art can play in health and well being in conjunction with medicine. She has worked within the acute hospital setting for a number of years and has worked with both GPs and trainee GPs in community health.
She recently completed a study in Medicine and the Arts through the University of Capetown and has also had some involvement with the Arts and Health Trust of Ireland, with the Waterford Healing Arts Trust and the Saolta Hospital Group in the West of Ireland.
Dee has a great belief in the power of the arts in aiding recovery and helping patients to maintain self-esteem and hold onto their sense of self; she has organized, and taken part in, group exhibitions in University Hospital Roscommon under the Arts and Health Initiative.
Her next exhibition will take place at the Aidan Heavey Library in December â€“ tune into For Arts Sake where we will reveal the dates of that exhibition as soon as theyâ€™re available!
In the meantime, click on the link below to listen to my recent interview with Dee!