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Collection of Batik Paintings Gifted to MIC

Professor Michael A Hayes, President of Mary Immaculate College (MIC) was delighted to receive a gift of a collection of fourteen batik paintings on the Life of Christ entitled ‘Story of a Life’, on behalf of the College recently. The collection was gifted to the College by the artist Nóirín Williams Mooney

Nóirín Williams Mooney was born in Co. Galway but has spent most of her growing and working life in Co. Clare. Having graduated from Galway University, she went on to take her ATC degree under McEvoy and Mannering at the College of Art in Limerick. She taught in Scoil Carmel before becoming Lecturer of Art in Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. During these years she held two joint exhibitions with Eileen Egan and participated individually in several Irish Winter Artists’ Exhibitions.

In 1969 she married the poet, Brian Mooney, and together they moved to the Burren in Co. Clare where they ran the Vincent Perfumery. Of her paintings of the Burren, the poet John O’ Donohue said “It is a landscape of a huge kind of memory and that makes for its presence. As humans we find it very hard to enter the mind of landscapes and that’s the miracle I think of what a painter like Noírín Williams Mooney does, people attend...and gradually find shapes and forms and sequences which open it up in a completely new kind of way.”

Her work came to the attention of Prof. Bob O’Driscoll, who invited her to participate in what has since become his legendary Celtic Consciousness Symposium in the University of Toronto in 1979. She spent over two years preparing fourteen massive batiks on the theme of the Irish Epic, the Tain, for this Symposium. They were to dominate the event and now hang permanently in Canada.

Commissions followed. Of her Stations of the Cross, commissioned by St. Jarlath’s College in 1984, Cyril Barrett, the renowned art critic wrote: “These Stations are among the most original I have ever seen. They depict the suffering of Christ and the dignity of the God – man without sentimentality, without rhetoric – and the medium and the style are a perfect vehicle for both the idea and the image”.

Prior to the death of her youngest son, Brecan, in November 2009, Nóirín had begun to work on a series of batik paintings on the Life of Christ.  Nóirín stated “Illustrated depictions of birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are often overly somber.  I think the ‘good news’ should lend itself to a more joyous expression using the medium of Batik painting”. Brecan’s death gave the work a new impetus.  The fourteen pieces in ‘Story of a Life’ cover some of the main events, parables and miracles in Christ’s life.  Nóirín created this series of batiks during a time of deep reflection. They took some two years to complete.

Batik is the name given to the ancient art of decorating cloth using wax and dye.  The applied wax resists dyes allowing the artist to colour selectively by soaking the cloth in one colour, removing the wax with boiling water, and repeating when multiple colours are desired. The word batik originates from the Javanese ‘tik’ and means 'to dot'.

Mary Immaculate College is honoured to take possession of this magnificent collection ‘The Story of a Life’ which will be exhibited in the College in December as part of the MIC autumn / winter programme for the Limerick City of Culture 2014 and will become part of the permanent Art Collection of the College.

Nóirín has exhibited extensively in Ireland, Holland and the United States – Louisville, Kentucky; Atlanta, Georgia; San Francisco and Los Angeles; Santa Fe; New Mexico, have all hosted exhibitions.

Accepting the collection Professor Michael Hayes stated “I am delighted to receive this gift which will be added to the College Art Collection. I wish to thank Nóirín for her generous donation to Mary Immaculate College“.

Professor Michael A Hayes, President of MIC, pictured with artist Nóirín Williams Mooney on the presentation of the collection, Story of a Life, to Mary Immaculate College.


Images from the collection  ‘Story of a Life’ by Nóirín Williams Mooney

 Professor Michael A Hayes pictured with Nóirín Williams Mooney and her husband Brian Mooney.

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