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Seen - Unseen 2022        

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Crawford Art Gallery is delighted to host a second Seen Unseen event in 2022 on 29 April at 2.30pm

Gerda Frömel, Tree Heads, c.1964, bronze with stone base, 54 x 36 x 13 cm. Purchased, 1976 (Gibson Bequest Fund / Arts Council Joint Purchase). © the artist’s estate.

Gerda Frömel. Tree Heads, c.1964, bronze with stone base, 54 x 36 x 13 cm. Purchased, 1976 (Gibson Bequest Fund / Arts Council Joint Purchase). © the artist’s estate.

Photo Ros Kavanagh

Katie Holten. Irish Tree Alphabet, 2020. ink on paper. Installation view VISUAL Carlow. Photo by Ros Kavanagh.  Courtesy the artist and VISUAL Carlow. Photo Ros Kavanagh

Seen Unseen is a unique socially engaged art project created in 2014 by Artist Clare Mc Laughlin exploring access to art for the visually impaired person (VIP) in gallery spaces and elsewhere.

In the upcoming Seen – Unseen session in the Crawford Art Gallery, Clare will be exploring some works from the exhibition BOTANICA: The Art of Plants including Katie Holten’s Irish Tree Alphabet. Katie will be joining the session on zoom to discuss her artwork.

Throughout the Covid 19 pandemic lockdowns Clare developed online Seen Unseen gallery visits via the zoom platform with the aid of specially designed tactile packs.  These are posted to participants, who are now joining in from three Continents to the gallery visits online.

Participation in Seen – Unseen is free of charge. If you would like to join us for this Seen – Unseen Gallery visit, please email Artist Clare Mc Laughlin at

During the Seen Unseen visually impaired gallery visits, participants take time to explore in detail any one particular artwork. The artwork is explored from a tactile perspective to allow a connection to what is portrayed, the art materials used, and the art process engaged by the artist.

While the verbal description is an important part of the visit, the ability to make a tactile connection with the artwork and ultimately the artist is an experience that lasts a lot longer than the visit. Bringing the artworks closer to the visitor helps in the understanding of not alone the artist’s practice but also of the political and social conditions prevailing when an artwork was made. The relaxed and convivial sessions encourage participations from the attendees.

Full details of the 2022 schedule of Seen – Unseen events can be accessed on Clare’s website.

Clare Mc Laughlin is an artist based in Bandon. She has a number of ongoing art projects including Seen – Unseen, SÚIL, Bird Feast, Blackberry Jam and Message in a Bottle.

Katie Holten is a visual artist and environmental activist based in New York City and Ardee.

Katie Holten combines ancient Ogham script with the writing conventions of Irish and English in her ‘Irish Tree Alphabet’, now included in the National Collection at Crawford Art Gallery.

The ‘Irish Tree Alphabet’ was commissioned by VISUAL Carlow for Holten’s solo exhibition there last year, in Holten’s words, “the year that we lost to Covid-19”.

The ‘Irish Tree Alphabet’ had been fifteen years in the making, in many ways representing the culmination of work that Holten started in 2004 with the support of a Fulbright scholarship in New York City, where the artist began researching our relationship with Nature in the City. The artist has made drawings of trees, existing natives as well as non-native trees that now call Ireland home due to the changing climate. Each tree replaces a letter in the Latin alphabet; A = Ailm (Scots Pine), B = Beith (Birch), C = Coll (Hazel), etc. The result is a new Irish Tree Alphabet and a typeface called Irish Trees.

Download the ‘Irish Trees’ typeface for free here:


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