“When Art Reflects Life” Review of Carlotta Hester’s Govinda Exhibition

by Chris Murray on May 7, 2011

New York’s weekly newspaper The Irish Voice published a story in it’s April 27th issue about Carlotta Hester’s exhibition of drawings from last summer’s All Ireland Music Festival. The Irish Voice’s Paul Keating wrote that “Hester reveals the very best about the people around us who do great things everyday”.

We ran into Paul Keating at Baltimore’s Creative Alliance Patterson Theater on April 22nd for the Baltimore debut of NicGaviskey, a terrific trad Irish band with two members from Ireland and two members from the U.S. Carlotta Hester saw NicGaviskey last summer at the All Ireland Music Festival in County Cavan and has two drawings in her exhibition featuring members of the band. Along with Paul Keating’s review we present here the two drawings from the exhibition.

Left: Bernadette Nic Gabhann, Co. Limerick, Fiddle, Johnston Library Co. Cavan, August 18, 2010. Right: NicGaviskey, Co. Meath & Baltimore, MD. Fiddle, Concertina, and Button Accordion, Town Hall, Cavan, August 20, 2010. Copyright © Carlotta Hester. All Rights Reserved.

Vol.25 No. 17, Wed., Apr. 27,2011 – Tues., May 3, 2011

“On Saturday morning I headed towards Georgetown and one of the oldest galleries in Washington, D.C. remaining at the same address.
Over 35 years ago, Chris Murray, a Georgetown graduate, opened the Govinda Gallery at 1227 34th Street to show off the work of two friends at that time, and since then it had become one of the premier galleries to exhibit art works with a musical theme, be it Elvis or the Beatles.
Since April 15 it has displayed an exhibit very close to his heart called “The Pure Drop: Drawings of Traditional Irish Musicians, Singers, and Dancers” with 44 pencil drawings artfully drawn by Murray’s wife Carlotta Hester – an art teacher at D.C. Marét School – during last summer’s Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Cavan Town.
Murray’s ancestral roots are in Co. Cavan in Stradone, and he and Carlotta were married there in 2006. Over subsequent summers they enjoyed the Wednesday night sessions at the Farnham Arms Hotel led by Cavan’s musical maestro, Martin Donohoe.
Hester, a multi-talented painter and sculptor, also liked to sketch musicians at play while listening to them. One such effort on a paper bag of the charismatic bearded Cavanman captured his imagination and the couple from D.C. for greater possibilities.
Were they game to take on the multifaceted Fleadh Cheoil in 2010 in Cavan? The answer was a resounding yes, so they were given press credentials to allow close access to the musicians in the multifaceted marathon that is Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
Using a rented farmhouse in Redhills as home base, Hester launched into the daunting task of truing to capture non-stop nature of the flowing tide of musicians in midstream teaching, performing or competing in big and small venues and seemingly everywhere in between throughout the Breifne town.
She crafted over 100 drawings in all, depicting many of the fleadh regulars like Antoin MacGabhann, and Mick O’Connor, who launched a CD filled with tunes they play together at their annual fleadh liaisons.
Also captured are MacGabann’s daughters Bernadette and Caitlin alone and with their group NicGaviskey. Tutors Paddy Ryan, Oisin MacDiarmada, Danny O’Mahony, and Michael O’Raghallaigh, the venerable lilter Seamus Fay and singer Joe Ward as well as numerous other musicians were worthy musical models.
With great simplicity and imagination, Hester and Murray have given the fleadh world and its denizens an artistic bualadh bos (applause) recognizing their world-class talents through the sketches that freezed their subjects in moments of high creativity.
Add to the fact that these fleadh events came together as an enormous display of volunteerism, commitment and community in Cavan last summer, and once again an artist like Hester reveals the very best about the people around us who do great things every day. Cavan may be 3,300 miles away from Georgetown, but a visit to the Govinda Gallery will shorten the distance and draw you closer to the many artists and people who make an Irish fleadh a happening like no other.
The exhibit goes through June 11th and may go on the road in the future. Visit www.govindagallery.com or phone (202)-333-1180 for more information.”

NicGaviskey’s debut album Home away from Home: Traditional Irish Music from Ireland & America.

Ticket to NicGaviskey’s Baltimore preformance at the Creative Alliance Patterson Theater, Friday April 22nd, 2011.

NicGaviskey Town Hall concert, Fleadh 2010, Cavan. Copyright © Chris Murray. All Rights Reserved.

To read more about NicGaviskey here is a link to Paul Keatings story about the band in The Irish Voice.

Category: Blog, Events, News & Updates   

3 responses to ““When Art Reflects Life” Review of Carlotta Hester’s Govinda Exhibition”

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