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SUBJECT: Grenfell: The Great Book of Gaelic on its way to North America; schedule of events now available for exhibition and festival
DATE: May 27, 2008

            The beauty of Gaelic art, poetry and calligraphy is on its way to Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Art Gallery in Corner Brook.
            The 100 pieces of artwork are currently en route by container ship from the Gaelic Arts Agency via Belfast, Ireland.
            “It’s very exciting to know that we are so close to launching this wonderful exhibition,” said Gail Tuttle, director of the Grenfell art gallery. “The exhibition itself is stunning. Unpacking the pieces from their crates for installation will be a real treat for our gallery staff. Our patrons will not want to miss the opening in June.”
            The exhibition will open officially with a major launch event Thursday, June 12, at 7:30 p.m. Dignitaries from the provincial and federal governments, representatives from the Ireland Business Partnerships and Gaelic Arts Agency, artists, poets and musicians, will be on hand to celebrate the opening. As well, children from C.C. Loughlin Elementary will attend to launch their own exhibition, inspired by the Great Book of Gaelic, which will be installed outside the gallery. The evening will include readings and music, with a special performance by children from the elementary school. Also in connection with the exhibition will be "past/present/future tense: The Great Book of Gaelic High School Art Project.” This high school project will be exhibited June 1-28 at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre Gallery. The high school exhibition brings together the rich Scottish heritage of the Codroy Valley, the Irish connections of Fogo Island, and the local community of Corner Brook. The students and teachers of Belanger Memorial School, Fogo Island Central Academy, and Corner Brook Regional High School respectively will tell their own stories and reflect on the role that their history plays in their present and their future.
            The celebration will continue until June 18 during the Gaelic Arts Festival. Earlier on the day of the exhibition opening, the official book launch will take place at 3 p.m. in the atrium of the Fine Arts Building – the public is invited to see the unveiling of the second edition of “An Leabhar Mòr, The Great Book of Gaelic”; copies will be available for purchase. This “coffee table book” is a beautiful tribute to the actual exhibition.
            On Friday, June 13, the art gallery will host an interdisciplinary colloquium on the Gaelic language and literature, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Moderated by Martin Ware, retired professor of English, Grenfell College, the colloquium features presentations by Grenfell College English professor Adrian Fowler and international scholars Greagóir Ó Dúill, Aonghas MacNeacail, Francis Breen, and Loretta Cormier presenting for Margaret Bennett.
            A CD and Book Launch will take place at 3 p.m. in the Fine Arts atrium. Loretta Cormier will launch a unique CD and booklet of the last Newfoundland-born Gaelic speakers, compiled form fieldwork recordings made in the Codroy Valley by folklorist Dr. Margaret Bennett between 1968 and 2007. Coffee and refreshments will be served.
            On Saturday, June 14, at 2 p.m., a Genealogy Workshop will be hosted by the Corner Brook Museum & Archives. Facilitated by Pat Walsh of the Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, the workshop will familiarize those interested in tracing their family tree with the research methods and websites that offer valuable information. Register for this workshop by calling 634-2518. At 8 p.m. at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre, The Great Book of Gaelic Gala will take place. Join poets, musicians and artists for an evening of great entertainment and experience the music and poetry of Ireland, Scotland and Newfoundland and Labrador. The gala features Irish, Scottish and Newfoundland and Labrador artists, including Anita Best, Louis de Paor, Louis MacDonald, Aonghas MacNeacail, Pamela Morgan, Fergus O'Byrne, and Jim Payne. Tickets are available at the Arts and Culture Centre Box Office: (709) 637-2580 or book online at www.artsandculturecentre.com.
            A number of events will take place on Sunday, June 15. “I Am the Tongue” is an afternoon of poetry readings and music with readings by writers from both sides of the Atlantic. “I Am the Tongue” will take place 1-3:15 p.m. in the Grenfell art gallery and will feature Randall Maggs, John Steffler, John Ennis, Louis de Paor, Aonghas MacNeachail, Gregór Ó Dúill and Alistair McLeod, with musical performances by Jane Tucker and Colin Watson (SWGC Gaelic Singers), and Anita Best. Also on Saturday at 3 p.m. is a Children’s Art Workshop at the Corner Brook Museum & Archives. Children ages 8-12 are invited to unite Gaelic and Newfoundland art into one image, showing the historical connection between the two. The children will take home the Gaelic and Newfoundland and Labrador paintings and drawings they create under the direction of local artist Jackie Alcock. This workshop will be repeated every Saturday throughout the summer at the regular Kids Day at the Museum. Finally at 7 p.m. at the Glynmill Inn will be the first of two historical lectures. “Irish Migration to Newfoundland in the 18th and 19th Centuries” will be presented by St. John’s folklorist and singer Anita Best. This much loved part of Newfoundland and Labrador’s history will be presented through stories and song.
            On Monday, June 16, The Great Book Show, organized and presented by Pròiseact nan Ealan, will be presented at 7 p.m. in the Fine Arts theatre. The Great Book Show attempts to be the poetry reading of all poetry readings – a guided tour of The Great Book, of Gaelic literature, of the doings of poets in the Ireland and Scotland at this very moment. Starring poets Louis de Paor and Aonghas MacNeacail.
            Three events are scheduled for Tuesday, June 17. The launch of the Newfoundland and Labrador War Brides website will be hosted at the Corner brook Museum and Archives at 2 p.m. The website is a tribute created by visual artist Jackie Alcock, daughter of war bride Mary Fletcher Sheppard of Liverpool England. During World War II thousands of Newfoundland and Labrador men met and married women while serving overseas, and brought their new wives back to the province. Despite many challenges, the women endured and became a vital part of their new communities. The website profiles many of the war brides as well as a gallery of art pieces created by Jackie Alcock. At 7 p.m., the second of two historical lectures will take place at the Glynmill Inn. Dr. Olaf Janzen, professor, of Grenfell’s historical studies program, will deliver a talk titled “The History of the Scottish Migration to Newfoundland and Labrador.” Finally at 8:30 p.m., also at the Glynmill, will be a screening of the film “Is Mise an Teanga” (I Am the Tongue). Directed by Murray Grigor, written by Kevin Anderson and produced by Cassandra McGrogan, “Is Mise an Teanga” is a film about Gaelic, its contemporary poets and their encounter with 100 visual artists in The Great Book of Gaelic – a Book of Kells for our time. The film travels the territory from Outer Hebrides to inner Dublin, to Connemara, the streets of West Belfast and Glasgow. We meet a group of quietly extraordinary poets encountering the world of the contemporary artist. Is Mise an Teanga is a living portrait of a language in flux.
            Finally on Wednesday, June 18, the official closing of the festival will take place with the Great Book Ceilidh, 7 p.m., at Grenfell’s Student Centre Food Court/The Backlot. This farewell party will feature a performance by the Scottish Heritage Society, with musical accompaniment by local musician Tommy Murphy. Refreshments and bar service will be available. Sponsored by PMA Canada – Tony Buckle.
            For more information on the exhibition and festival events, visit www.swgc.mun.ca/artgallery/greatbook.  

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