Since November 2013 Simon Mckeown has been working with lead partners National Sculpture Factory and Create Ireland to develop â€˜Cork Igniteâ€™, which is premiering in Cork City centre on 18 September. As part of the process he has been working with partner disability organisations in Cork, such as Suisha Inclusive Arts at COPE Foundation and SoundOUT as well as individual members of the disabled community.
'Cork Ignite' is commissioned by Cork City Council as part of Ignite. Ignite is a unique partnership involving the Arts Council, Arts & Disability Ireland (ADI), Cork City Council, Galway City and County Councils, and Mayo County Council.
Ignite is a new platform designed to generate Ireland’s most ambitious showcasing of talent from people with disabilities, led by international and Irish artists and performers with disabilities, with projects taking place in 2014 and 2015 in Cork, Galway and Mayo. These commissions each represent an investment of up to €60,000. The initiative will conclude with a tour of one of the resulting works to all three counties (and beyond) in Spring 2015.
'Cork Ignite' represents a culmination of many of Simon's research interests including, large scale complex outdoor projection, theatrical works, soundscapes, water and collaboration with disabled artists. It will be a premiere for Cork and will playout during 2015 to an audience of around 5,000 to 10,000.
Mckeown says, “My aim is to create, with my partners, a hugely exciting body of work in Cork and for this work to be seen as a fundamental stepping stone in the perception and production of art which touches on, or considers disability.”
Simon was awarded his own prestigious Cultural Olympiad/London 2012 Festival commission. He has over 25 years of professional creative experience, this includes creating animations and special effects for film and television (such as ITV's Wire In The Blood) as well as working as Head of 3D with computer games giant Atari on the seminal games series ‘Driver’. He is also a senior lecturer (Reader) in Teesside University.
Simon is committed to inclusion and collaboration through his practice, working with artists with disabilities with organisations such as London's famous Graeae Theatre Company, as key shapers or co-creators of an artwork. His work is a reflection of his interest, knowledge and experience of disability and in particular society’s view of ‘normality’ and ‘difference’. Simon also draws from his own personal experience having been born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a condition causing extremely fragile bones and has had around 145 breaks in his lifetime, most recently 4 ribs.
Simon Mckeown is an award winning internationally exhibiting artist renowned for his work which touches on and considers disability, and his work has been shown as far afield as the Smithsonian International Gallery in the USA, The DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague, Czech Republic, GAK in Kosovo along with galleries in Australia, Norway, America, South America, the United Kingdom and most lately at the Duetches Hygiene Museum in Dresden, Germany.
'Cork Ignite’ is available for international touring from 2016 onwards. Providing participatory activities in the promoter’s location, it offers an opportunity for local, deeper engagement with a world-class artist through a highly innovative project.