Mischievous, authentic children's portraits are good for the self(ie) esteem

Are We There Yet? An exhibition that's running as part of the Baboró International Arts Festival For Children in Galway is a celebration of kids

In Celebration of Children by Julia Dunin features portraits of children to encourage self-esteem. The  exhibition  features in the upcoming Baboró International Arts Festival For Children in Galway

In Celebration of Children by Julia Dunin features portraits of children to encourage self-esteem. The exhibition features in the upcoming Baboró International Arts Festival For Children in Galway

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We take a lot of selfies in our house. I know selfie-culture is frowned on in some quarters – bad for the self-esteem, apparently – but most of our family portraits are taken by our own fair, sometimes shaky, hands. On beaches, in restaurants and messing about on the sofa – we have a growing array of dodgy self-rendered family snaps.

Our family selfies are badly framed. Somebody always makes a funny face. And they wouldn’t win any prizes for composition. But when I look back on these photos I know they’ll evoke more authentic memories of our family life than those professional portraits in which we’re all wearing white shirts and blue jeans and arranged in a pose we’d never normally adopt.

(In real life the white shirts would be covered in black bean burrito stains and somebody would be doing bunny ears behind somebody else’s head.)

Confidence

They aren’t selfies exactly, but an exhibition that features in the upcoming Baboró International Arts Festival For Children in Galway caught my eye for the same reason that I’m a fan of our family selfies.

It’s called In Celebration of Children and it’s the culmination of a project by Michelle O’Grady from Réalta School of Speech and Drama and Julia Dunin Photography. They captured portraits of children during a special photoshoot designed to empower children and raise their confidence.

O’Grady says she wanted to give her students an experience that would leave them feeling brilliant about themselves. “I loved the idea of a child having a photoshoot all about them and perhaps in 20 years’ time, they would find this photo and feel brilliant about themselves all over again.” Good for their self(ie) esteem in other words.

Honesty

She invited Dunin to photograph 20 of her students. There’s an honesty and mischievousness to the portraits, which was clearly deliberate. “The experience of their personal photoshoot empowered the children, but also gave us an insight into their true personality,” explains Dunin.

The exhibition, which is happening in the Wonder Works on Market Street, is part of the jam-packed festival that makes up the 22nd Baboró programme. The festival, which starts on Monday, October 15th, allows children to experience the transformative power of the arts with events in theatre, dance, music, exhibitions, film and literature. There are 51 events across seven days with artists and companies from all over Europe gathering in Galway.

Lucky you if you live in the area, but if you don’t the always excellent Baboró festival is well worth a trip to Galway.

For more information visit baboro.ie

THE BEST OF BABORÓ . . .

A selection of free events

Darkmouth author Shane Hegarty (formerly of this parish) shares his writing tips at an interactive event being held at Ballybane and Westside libraries on Wednesday, October 17th. Ballybane: 3.30pm; Westside: 5.30pm. Ages 8-13.

Wonder Walls gathers expert illustrators Niamh Sharkey, PJ Lynch and Tarsila Kruse for a unique live drawing experience where families get to add their own designs. Make sure you dress to make a mess. Friday, October 19th, 3.30pm and 5pm. Ages 4-12.

Fishy Tales is an event that mixes food and folklore in The Kitchen Cafe at the Spanish Arch. You’ll hear tales from the Claddagh, one of the oldest fishing villages in Ireland. They’ll even throw in some fish soup. Wednesday, October 17th, 3.30pm. All ages.

Floating is a series of abstract paintings created outdoors in nature where Galway artist Finbar McHugh feels most at home. McHugh will also lead workshops with children to help them explore their inner worlds and daydreams.

Monday, October 15th- Sunday, October 21st, 9.30am-5.30pm, The O’Donoghue Centre, NUI Galway. All ages.

Other highlights...

Tetris is inspired by the game of the same name. This dance is intense
Tetris is inspired by the game of the same name. This dance is intense

Tetris is brought to you by Arch 8 who are from the Netherlands and as you might guess it’s inspired by the game of the same name. This extremely physical dance quarter explore the many ways we can connect with each other. Monday, October 15th-Thursday, October 18th, Black Box Theatre. Ages 5-12.

The Colour Factory from Toodelou Creativity Lab is an interactive experience where children are the curators and the creators. They’ll transform the space into a three-dimensional multisensory rainbow. The Wonder Works, Market Street. Saturday, October 20th and Sunday, October 21st. Time by age group: 18 mths-4yrs, 10am, 11am; 5-12yrs, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm. 2pm, 3pm, 4pm.

And finally in Dublin ...

Science Day at Arnotts

If you’re not able to get to Galway, there’s a great day in store at Arnotts in Dublin this weekend for any budding scientists in your life. Their popular STEM event takes place on Saturday, October 13th and is a celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths.

Science expert Dr Jennifer Cleary returns with wacky experiments and fun science tricks. Her event takes place at 12pm, 1:30pm and 3pm. Irish engineer, scientist, performer and one of Ireland’s leading space explorers, Dr Niamh Shaw will also be there at 12:30pm, 2pm and 3:30pm. Recently voted one of Ireland’s leading science communicators and STEM specialists, Shaw will share her thoughts on the story of space and encourage all children to dream big.

Throughout the weekend, children can enjoy interactive workshops with Djeco Arts and Crafts which aim to encourage creativity. There are opportunities to build robotics and create code with the Trinity Walton Club, a unique learning hub set up to spark curiosity and ignite innovation. Known for their entertaining teaching devices, Head-U puzzles will challenge children to enjoy new ways of playing and learning with jigsaw creations. There’ll also be face painting, arts and crafts and more. See arnotts.ie for more details.

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