Kennedy Fine Art has curated a unique art collection for the Belmond Grand Hibernian by bringing together both emerging and prominent artists, selected for their personal and often surprising view of Ireland and its landscapes. The collection provides a unique perspective on Ireland’s rich heritage, contemporary culture and dramatic scenery, through a series of evocative artwork celebrating the island’s wealth of creative talent.
Calling on her decade of experience, connections in the art world and knowledge of the destination, Katie explains, “It was important that the artworks have a strong sense of place, tell an interesting story and offer the guest an elevated understanding of the destination. I was delighted to be able to source artists from the rich pool of Irish talent that exists and showcase Ireland’s contemporary culture in such a unique way.”
Together, the diverse collection of photographs, oil paintings and watercolours aim to enhance the emotional connection between guest, journey and destination. Care has been taken to ensure the artworks help to ‘bring the outside in’ and perfectly complements the train’s interior design inspired by the island’s flora and fauna.
Some works take a magnifying glass to the dramatic scenery that can be seen along route. The series of analogue photographs by Samuel Laurence Cunnane depict unusual plants in extraordinary light and detail that can only be found in his home County of Kerry where the train visits. Amelia Stein’s black and white photographic ‘The Palm House Series’, which took two years to complete, captures exotic vegetation in the Victorian structure of the Glass House in the National Botanical Gardens in Dublin; the city from which the train departs.
Celebrated contemporary Irish artist Mick O’Dea paints landscapes from around his home at Portacloy on the north coast of County Mayo by positioning his easel close to nature as the weather causes the colours to evolve. Guests can experience some of these dramatic ever-changing landscapes as the train passes through County Mayo.
Dorothy Cross transports guests to unexpected places and Ireland’s hidden natural wonders with her striking ‘Wormhole I-VI’ photographic series. Based on a geographical phenomenon that can only be accessed by foot on the island of Inis Mor, she has photographed a rectangular water basin measuring 10 by 25 metres that is created by natural erosion.
Belfast-born Laurence Riddell’s oil painting Moon Cactus (III), which shows a blurred horse galloping, is inspired by Ireland’s rich and complex relationship and the essential role horses play in Irish rural life.
Each artist’s work has been assigned a carriage and is either on the walls of the en-suite cabins or displayed publically in the ‘Sligo’ and ‘Wexford’ dining carriages. The full collection can be viewed in the specially designed ‘Inspirations of Ireland’ booklet.
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