Sligo Arts Collective occupy empty building in bold call to revitalise creative community

Sligo-based ‘BaHa Visual Art Collective’ announce details of their second art exhibition which is titled ‘Uninhabited’, and will see the artists occupy a vacant building in Sligo Town from Friday August 23rd until August 27th. Building on the success of their inaugural exhibition ‘Emergence’ which took place in November 2018; the collective has honed their craft and following a successful funding application with the Sligo County Council Creative Ireland Programme*, BaHa are keen to revolutionise the creative community in Sligo with their latest installation.

Exhibition Concept

The concept behind ‘Uninhabited’ is to highlight the volume of disused buildings within Sligo town which have the potential to be utilised as creative spaces that can encourage the next generation of artists within Sligo to flourish, and ultimately bolster the culture within a town steeped in the arts.  A common issue faced by graduate artists is the barrier to exhibit in designated spaces, where there are few openings. The literal symbolism of the exhibition is to capture the tiring and sometimes futile feelings experienced by graduate artists as they attempt to navigate opportunities to further their careers. Recipients of the Sligo County Council Creative Ireland Programme funding, the artists used this financial assistance to rent a larger venue to enable the number of artists exhibiting to expand – with a total of five local artists featured, including new additions Cassandra Healy, Ken Gunning and Virtual Nacre.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

BaHa Visual Art Collective’ was founded by childhood friends, and Sligo natives Hannah Dobson and Adam Flynn, both from Sligo Town; and Jessica O’Brien, from Ballygawley in Autumn 2018. Eager to advance with their craft, and having experienced difficulty in transitioning into the established art scene post-third-level education; the creatives were inspired to seek their own route which began with their primary self-funded exhibition.  In addition to this; the collective provides a support network for artists to exhibit their work along with networking opportunities to develop valuable relationships with other creatives within Sligo to assist in their individual careers.

Speaking in advance of the exhibition, Co-founder Hannah Dobson said,: “The preliminary focus for Baha is to create work that reflects our artists and to give them a space to feel part of a community and to exhibit their work without the burden of being a one man band. The other aim is to enrich the wider community and increase creative awareness with a form of visual art we are passionate about, and believe others are as well. We hope the future of BaHa will include various sculptors and 3D Artists joining our collective, building a network to curate exhibitions across Ireland and hopefully, Internationally furthering Sligo’s reputation as a cultural city of importance”.

Behind the name

Inspired by the Irish word “Beátha”, meaning life; the artists chose to name the collective this in part as reference to the role that art has within their lives, and also due to their choice of materials and sources of inspiration. The intention and collective vision of BaHa is that of collaboration and inclusion, with the aim to have a variety of artists involved in pop-up events and exhibitions on a rolling basis. BaHa strive to connect with other young Irish artists who work with different mediums to illuminate the vibrancy and diversity that exists within the community. Keen to divert from traditional approaches to the discipline, BaHa endeavour to expand the perspectives and approaches taken in the design and execution of art.

‘Uninhabited’ opens on Friday 23rd August from 7pm-9pm, and will run daily until Tuesday 27th from 11am – 6pm at The Mall, Sligo, F91 A4YP

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