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Caoimhe Mannion


"Early in the pandemic, I was painting. But as we got deeper into Spain's three-month 'house arrest' my genie disappeared and I found myself creatively blocked."

Describe yourself as a maker/artist/creative 

Irish, and living in Andalucia Spain, many of my paintings are motivated by an emotional response to events around the world as depicted in my "Conflict & other zones" collection - visual reportage of events and situations I believe should not be forgotten as the news media cycle moves on. My "Faces" and "Holy Moly" collections question beauty and character, while my "Viva España" collection tries to capture the rich culture where I live.  

What are you currently working on?

I like to have more than one painting on the go at a time, to prevent myself from getting too invested in detail, which is not my style. One WIP is the seventh in a series of paintings of the Brotherhoods who participate in Easter Week processions in Spain. The second depicts the impact of COVID-19 on Spain's flamenco industry - dancers in mourning,  wearing black flamenco dresses ... as took place in Seville recently. 

Has your work shifted in response to the pandemic? How?

Early in the pandemic, I was painting. But as we got deeper into Spain's three-month "house arrest" my genie disappeared and I found myself creatively blocked. My mojo has since returned, though with many world events displaced by COVID and politics in the news media, more recent output has focused on Spanish subjects.   


In your opinion, what is the role that the creative process can play in helping us confront our “new” reality?

I believe that isolation can lead to introspection, hopefully constructive, a better understanding of self, one's beliefs, aims, and values. Creativity can provide an outlet for self-discovery, clarity, in addition to expressions of loneliness, empathy, hope, frustration and other feelings. In addition, the growth of virtual communities such as Made in Isolation open the way to new friendships, ideas, knowledge, previously unexplored opportunities, support and sharing, plus encouragement ... all important when we are unable to have the human contact we had before.               


Any advice or insight you'd like to share?

Being isolated helped me to identify and clarify the themes of my creative output. I recognize now my creative split personality!  On the one hand I am an artist moved to depict desperate circumstances and events around the world.  On the other hand, I am an artist whose output can be more commercial, more appealing to visitors to, and non-Spanish people living in Spain. Sometimes they even join up! 

See more of Caoimhe's work here

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