One wet, grey and sordid Friday afternoon I visited Istabraq Hall. It was located at Merchants Quay so it was relatively easy to locate even for someone new to the city. Istabraq Hall is located in Limerick city council offices. I entered free of charge and I think that this is a sensible way to entice the people of this fine city to admire the fine art on show weekly.
The first piece I was drawn to was the piece above. I found it stimulating and thought provoking it spoke to me of a person in love with life.
On display also were these rather unusual sketches. I liked them; they were humorous and showed the importance of not taking life too seriously. I like the image of the All Seeing Eye it stares back at the viewer and draws you in closer to the piece. The gallery was far from busy with only two employees and one fellow art observer there. Yet there was still a great atmosphere.
Istabraq Hall is the temporary gallery while the historic Carnegie Building. Carnegie is undergoing a major development has five aims; to develop the gallery in manner which preserves the old building, give access to the wonderful amenity that is the Peoples Park, to upgrade the exhibition spaces, to provide a purpose-built Permanent Collection Storage and to create a large Cafe /Library/Social space.
The permanent Collection contains many infamous artists such as Evie Hone, William Orpen, Sean Keating and Paul Henry. It contains work from the 18th right through to the 21st century. The Permanent collection also holds the National Collection of Contemporary Drawing and the Michael O’Connor International Poster Collection consisting of over 2800 works of international design.
I liked Istabraq but I look forward to a greater variety of artwork. All in all though I really enjoyed myself.
Also here is a promotional video of the Carnegie Building on YouTube: