“Extraordinary, bold, vibrant” exhibition by Sinead Hehir at UHW

A great crowd of friends, family, art enthusiasts and hospital staff turned out for the launch of Dungarvan artist Sinéad Hehir’s “A Better Place” exhibition 13 June at UHW. The exhibition was officially launched by poet Edward Denniston, who described the solo show as “extraordinary, bold and vibrant” and “full of movement and energy”.  Presented by Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT), this annual exhibition aims to present high quality original artworks to make UHW a better place for all.  The exhibition will continue until 28 August.

Poet Edward Denniston, Cllr Pat Nugent, Mayor of Waterford & artist Sinead Hehir
Poet Edward Denniston, Cllr Pat Nugent, Mayor of Waterford & artist Sinead Hehir. Photo: John Power

A Better Place is an annual exhibition which invites artists to submit a sample of their artwork to be considered and voted on by the public for a full solo exhibition.  This year, submissions were received from 63 artists – the highest number of entries to date – and were on public view at UHW from February to April, with Sinéad’s artwork receiving the highest number of votes.

Edward Denniston, who is a former teaching colleague of Sinéad Hehir, was particularly pleased to open this exhibition of landscapes: “When I first saw Sinéad’s paintings, I could feel the vibrancy”.  He went on to encourage those viewing the exhibition to not only look, but “listen to what these paintings are saying…They’re saying ‘I’m alive, I’m muscular, I’m moving’”.  He added “nature is always pushing out, changing your perception, shaking us out of our ordinary way of doing things”.  Commenting on how this exhibition enhances the hospital setting, he suggested that “people coming through this corridor each day, with who knows what worries, if they stop for a moment and look…it will do them good”.

A teacher of Art, Craft and Design at Newtown School, Sinéad Hehir graduated from CIT Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork with a BA in Fine Art.  She was the recipient of the CIT and OPW Purchase Prize Awards and completed her Higher Diploma with First Class Honours, adding the Marshall Hutson Award for Best Art Education Student, the highest result of the year and CIT Student of the Year to her roll of honour.  Renowned for her interpretations of local landscapes, Sinéad uses paint in an exciting and colourful way, often portraying a dramatic view of Waterford and the surrounding areas.

A Better Place is supported by the Arts Council.  Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) is Ireland’s leading arts and health programme.  Established in 1993, WHAT brings arts experiences to the bedsides of patients at University Hospital Waterford and other healthcare settings.  WHAT believes that the arts contribute to the wellbeing and vitality of society and that engaging with the arts stimulates the participant’s sense of identity and creativity.  WHAT supports the development of arts and health in Ireland and manages the national website www.artsandhealth.ie