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Exploring Identity Through Art

The chill of the winter air sparked plenty of creativity and warmth inside the Limerick City Gallery of Art this February midterm break, as artist Chelsea Canavan facilitated a two day camp for children, aged 9-12, in the morning and teenagers, aged 13-18, in the afternoons. They all focused on the theme of identity, but the two different age groups went about exploring it in different ways, often responding better to different types of art mediums.

Making art and friends.


Both groups started each session with some icebreaker games that helped them explore questions like ‘Who am I? Where do I belong? What influences and ideas represent me?’ Everyone was also given the chance to engage with the art on exhibit in the Limerick City Gallery of Art, both during a tour and as individuals, to help inspire their own ideas and creations. They all used these questions, inspiration, and a variety of creative skills and techniques to explore personal identity.

“It’s the fact that he’s not alone. There are other children experiencing the same thing.” -Mother

Creating colourful backdrops.


The children used music, writing, and visual arts to express their ideas. They wrote dialogue, composed soundscapes,and devised movement and choreography, all performed in front of backdrops they created using paint, silhouetting, and drawing. Many of the children expressed how much fun they had over the two sessions, while one boy said he was worried about being late on the second day, because he didn’t want to miss a single thing!

“He ran out of the first class afterwards and said, ‘mammy, it is the best class ever.’” -Parent

Collaborating on a group music piece.


The teenagers explored the ideas of identity through music, photography, construction and drawing. They were encouraged to be the leaders of their own experiences, especially when it came to the writing and music activities. All of them rose to the challenge, and worked well to create individual and group pieces that uniquely expressed the discussions they had been having throughout the camp. They formed friendships and bonded over things like the cardboard exhibit in the gallery, which they all interacted with, taking photos of themselves with the art. By the end of the camp they had created a lot of fantastic artwork, including a sound piece which incorporated several different instruments.

“They’re all creating so they’re able to do the same work. He’s not seeing someone miles ahead of him who he is not able to keep up with… But what they learn in just unbelievable.”- Mother

Helium Arts’ Creative Health Hubs are supported by the Arts Council, the Social Innovation Fund Ireland through the Arts to Impact Fund, and Creative Ireland. The Limerick Hub is taking place in partnership with University Hospital Limerick, Limerick City and County Council and Limerick Culture and Arts Department.

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CHY Number: 19236
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