Carlotta Hester’s exhibition of drawings in Ireland

by Chris Murray on November 3, 2012

Carlotta Hester’s exhibition The Pure Drop: Drawings of Traditional Irish Musicians, Singers, and Dancers, just returned from Ireland, where it was on exhibit during the All Ireland Music Festival in County Cavan. The highly acclaimed exhibition drew large crowds and was especially appreciated by many of the musical artists visiting County Cavan during the world’s largest traditional Irish music festival. Hester spent the last three summers documenting the three-year run in County Cavan of the All Ireland Fleadhs 2010, 2011, and 2012. Hester’s ‘live-action’ drawings feature musical artists from over 15 counties in Ireland (North and South), as well as Scotland, England, and the United States.

Musician extraordinaire and Trad Music DJ Martin Donohoe on air during his show The Wind That Blows on Northern Sound radio in County Cavan. Martin is holding a drawing just done of him on air by Carlotta Hester. Copyright © Govinda Gallery Archive. All Rights Reserved.

The invitation card for Carlotta Hester’s exhibition in Ireland. All Ireland champion lilter Seamus Fay is depicted in Hester’s drawing on the card. Copyright © Govinda Gallery Archive and Carlotta Hester. All Rights Reserved.

Carlotta Hester outside the Johnston Central Library Gallery, County Cavan. Copyright © Govinda Gallery Archive. All Rights Reserved.

Visitors admiring part of The Pure Drop exhibition of drawings. Copyright © Govinda Gallery Archive. All Rights Reserved.

Senator Labhras O’Murchu, the Director General of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, greeting Carlotta at her exhibition reception. Senator Labhras O’Murchu is a major supporter of traditional Irish music and a fan of Carlotta Hester’s drawings. Copyright © Govinda Gallery Archive. All Rights Reserved.

The Rudden family from Redhills, County Cavan, enjoying Carlotta Hester’s exhibition. Copyright © Govinda Gallery Archive. All Rights Reserved.

Exhibition case at the Johnston Central Library Gallery filled with drawings by Carlotta Hester. Copyright © Govinda Gallery Archive and Carlotta Hester. All Rights Reserved.


July 19, 2012

US Artist Drawing on Tradition
Damien McCarney

An American artist who has captured vibrant performances from the last two Fleadh events will return this year to display her drawings – bringing the project “full circle”.
Carlotta Hester made over 100 sketches documenting some of the performers who helped make the events of the Cavan trad-fests in 2010 and 2011 so memorable, taking in dance classes, pub sessions and everything in between. Amongst the Cavan faces on display you’ll find musicians Catie and Aoife Flynn, Seamus and Gareth Tierney and dancer Clare McDermott.
The energy of the drawings comes from the fact that she executed all of them ‘live-action’ as curator of Carlotta’s work, and husband Chris Murray, calls it – not from photographs or reworked after a performance. Carlotta puts it eloquently saying, ‘My pencil became like a camera’.
Chris, the founder and director of Govinda Gallery, in Washington DC, told the Celt that it was ‘quite a story’ how the project was initiated. When coming ‘home’ to see where Murray’s grandfather was born in Lower Lavey, the couple stumbled upon Martin Donohoe during his first sessions at the Farnham Arms over a decade ago, and they continued to go to the session every Wednesday.
“Carlotta spontaneously started to draw Martin and others – originally on a paper bag at hand! “We still have remnants from those ‘early days’ drawings,” recalls Chris. “We shared in the excitement of the Fleadh arriving in Cavan and Carlotta, an art teacher by profession, started documenting Fleadh 2010 and 2011 in a remarkable and comprehensive series of drawings.”
“We first exhibited the collection in Washington DC last year. How thrilling and fulfilling to have the exhibition shown in Ireland for the first time, and in Cavan at Fleadh 2012!”
“For us it brings the project full circle.”
Look out for more details on The Pure Drop when it comes to Cavan for the Fleadh. It will also travel to Havana, Cuba in March for its new Celtic Music Festival there.

Artist Jane McCormick with her husband Joe Keenan, who organized the trans-art cavan festival with Sally O’Dowd and Siobhan Harton. Copyright © Govinda Gallery Archive. All Rights Reserved.

Cavan County Manager Jack Keyes with Martin Donohoe at the Fleadh Dome, 2012. Copyright © Govinda Gallery Archive. All Rights Reserved.

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  • Comments

    • Betsy Bennett

      Thank you for sharing the news of Carlotta’s exhibit in Ireland this summer. Pure Drop is a spectacular set of drawings, and it is fun to read about the show and the appreciative fans in Ireland. They join the many of us who love Carlotta and continue to be huge fans of her art and her great success as a teacher of both the skills and appreciation of art.

    • Jana Bent

      Wonderful! and what a lovely treat for your audience to have drawings of themselves while they wait, from you! All the very best and enjoy!!

    • Noemi

      Helpful info. Lucky me I discovered your web site
      accidentally, and I’m surprised why this coincidence didn’t took place in advance!
      I bookmarked it.

    • Chris Murray

      Noemi,
      I am so gald that you’ve found Govinda Gallery’s website.
      All the best,
      Chris Murray

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