Older people with tattoos make for remarkable Arts Centre exhibition

Ink, an exhibition of photographs by artist Aidan Kelly was launched as part of the Tipperary Bealtaine Festival at the South Tipperary Arts Centre in Nelson Street, Clonmel. The County Council’s Arts Service and the Arts Centre are jointly hosting this remarkable exhibition, which runs until 11th May.

Ink, an exhibition of photographs by artist Aidan Kelly was launched as part of the Tipperary Bealtaine Festival at the South Tipperary Arts Centre in Nelson Street, Clonmel. The County Council’s Arts Service and the Arts Centre are jointly hosting this remarkable exhibition, which runs until 11th May.

The exhibition is on loan from Age and Opportunity’s Bealtaine Festival. Last year the Bealtaine Festival, Ireland’s unique nationwide celebration of creativity in older age, commissioned photographer Aidan Kelly to create an exhibition of original photographs of older people with tattoos. Tattoos can be a sign of belonging or rebellion; they can commemorate someone dear or be an expression; they can be signs of service, servitude or even imprisonment. Gently revealing, they are lasting reminders of time and place, deliberate ink engraved into skin for a lifetime.

The starting point for the project was a search for people over 50 with tattoos. From Dublin’s Docks to Army Barracks, from random meetings on buses and conversations in pubs, via notes left with friends of friends, posters in tattoo parlours and online social networks the search spread. Then the photographing began, and with it the recording of stories. The result is this exhibition and its online partner. Here you can see the celebration of each individual. Online (www.bealtaine.com) you can listen to people talking about their Ink.

Based in Dublin , Aidan Kelly is primarily a self-taught artist, practising in fine art photography and working other platforms including photography for design, press and the music and film industry. A realistic documentary style of work runs thoroughout.

He has worked with numerous musicians and artists including U2, Gavin Friday, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Glen Hansard, Gemma Hayes, Sean Hillen, James Hanley RHA, Candi Staton, Chris Judge and Maser.

As part of the exhibition Aidan Kelly will visit the Arts Centre with the purpose of expanding his photographic collection by taking more photographs of older people with tattoos - if you have an interest in the exhibition or would like to meet Aidan contact the Arts Centre on 052-6129339.

For further information about the Tipperary Bealtaine festival or to receive a brochure contact Sally O’Leary, County Council Arts Officer at 052-6134565 or e-mail sally.oleary@southtippcoco.ie.