Spectacular Vernacular


Spectacular Vernacular is bred from the black earth of the bog and celebrates the local, the ordinary and the mysteries of the colloquial. Much like vernacular architecture depends on utilising the phenomenon in its environs, Spectacular Vernacular emerges from the foundations of artistic cultures that already exist between our towns and in the County of Offaly. Spectacular Vernacular examines the traditions of Offaly and its rural arcadia through the lens of the contemporary practitioners who live there or artists and culturalists whose practice may be associated with the locale.
Unconcerned with the often celebrated grandiose architecture of Offalys colonial history, Spectacular Vernacular rather seeks to unearth the narratives, customs, creativity and intellect of the inhabitants of a contemporary midlands.
In this queer post-colonial landscape, the duality of a history that is both drenched in ancient folkloric romanticism and the shadowy rule of imperialism led to a creed of cultural hybridity and a landscape dotted with ancient stone relics, preserved bog men, castles, big houses and follies. Between these remnants dwells a community. In a fresh contemporaneous context, our county brims with new blood, new cultures and potential. Spectacular Vernacular will look sharply to a shared future and consider what collective legacy may be possible for our community to envisage today?

- Curator Brendan Fox

Taking place between the towns of Birr, Tullamore and Lough Boora Parklands in County Offaly, Spectacular Vernacular proposes a series of outdoor events, workshops, performances and happenings that will focus on developing new creative networks and opportunities for both artists and the community. With a vital consciousness of inclusion and diversity, these events will penultimately endeavour to establish sustainable connections with underrepresented groups and communities in the area. During the current construction of Tullamore Arts Centre and the restoration of Birr Court House as an Arts Hub, we will collectively assess the potential of these spaces within our communities and ultimately develop further the cultural-artistic foundations that these new centres for creativity may accommodate in the future.
In lieu of these future spaces, Spectacular Vernacular will take to the streets and bogs creating an ambitious new artistic terrain for our community to define and experience through collaborative projects in the hope that when these centres open for the first time that we may walk the mud from our boots into their halls, fueled with the energies of our collective artistic endeavours.