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New Exhibition at the Manx Museum - 'What Is This Place Called Home?' 26 June 2006

Manx National Heritage will be opening its new summer exhibition ‘What Is This Place Called Home?’ at the Manx Museum on Saturday 1st July. The exhibition is the end result of four weeks fieldwork by Mary Modeen as artist-in-residence at Cregneash during the summer of 2005, and explores the wide range of thoughts and feelings that people have about ‘home’ and why it is important to them. Mary Modeen

The artist has used a wide variety of multi-media such as large scale digital prints, sculptural displays and audio-visual and sound installations to explore the themes of ‘home’, identity and a sense of belonging.

Mary Modeen’s time as artist-in-residence at Cregneash involved talking to a wide variety of people about their thoughts on ‘home’ and ‘belonging’ and also photographing and filming various events around the Island. She wanted to discover what made and what makes the Isle of Man different and how Manx residents and visitors have felt about the Island.

Mary Modeen is an American-born artist who has taught art at the University of Dundee in Scotland for the past 18 years. Her artwork ranges from a variety of printmaking techniques but also includes painting, artist books, and sculptural installations, together with the multi-media art installations to be seen in this exhibition. At the root of all her art is a curiosity about land and landscape, history and culture, memories and identity and all these elements can be seen in her Manx work ‘What Is This Place Called Home?’.

Yvonne Cresswell, Curator of Social History for Manx National Heritage and co-ordinator of the exhibition, said:

“The exhibition is not just Mary Modeen’s personal exploration and thoughts about the concept of ‘home’ and ‘belonging’, it is also intended to be a series of questions which ask the visitor to consider how they would identify ‘home’ and what gives them a sense of belonging, or not, as the case may be.
The exhibition can be found at the Manx Museum; yet an important element of the exhibition will be a series of art and sound installations to be ‘discovered’ in the Manx landscape. This is a new and exciting aspect of Manx National Heritage’s temporary exhibition programme.”

The three installations, referencing acupuncture needles, are called ‘Healing Earth’ and will be located at three Manx National Heritage sites: The Grove at Ramsey, Laxey Wheel and at Niarbyl Café. Each installation contains a large sculptural ‘needle’ embedded into the landscape and is accompanied by a sound installation.

Mary Modeen describes the work as:

“‘Healing Earth’ is about knowing where and how we stand on this earth, not just on it, but more importantly as a part of it. We are not always in balance or harmony with the world around us but healing begins with a quest for balance.
The ancient Chinese developed a philosophy, a medicine, and a way of living based on attunement to channels of life energy. These have been called by various names, Chi, Jung, Tao or Dao. All refer to a harmony of life force, conducted through Nature and so through the earth, through animals and all living things. Disharmony—or lack of attention paid to imbalances—is the cause of disruption and grief. Acupuncture is one form of healing based on this knowledge. The needle penetrates the skin, and touches the channel of energy, vibrates and resonates with restorative contact.”

‘What Is This Place Called Home’ will open to the public on Saturday 1st July at the Manx Museum and also at The Grove, Laxey Wheel and Niarbyl Café and Visitor Centre. The Manx Museum is open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and The Grove, Laxey Wheel and Niarbyl Café and Visitor Centre are open from 10am to 5pm daily. The exhibition will run until Saturday 7th October 2006.

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