The opening of an exhibition of work by Mayo filmmaker, Fergus Sweeney, relating to the tragic 2017 Blacksod helicopter crash in North Mayo, will take place in Ballina Arts Centre on January 12, 2019 at 4pm. Councillor Blackie Gavin, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council will launch the exhibition.
Mr Sweeney was recenty the successful recipient of a Film Mayo Creative Ireland Residency Award in partnership with Ballina Arts Centre. This residency award – an initiative of the Mayo Arts Service designed to benefit an artist in their own practice – allowed Sweeney time to develop new work, dedicate time to research, develop new ideas and work with the local community.
On March 14, 2017, as Sweeney was settling in for a quiet evening, an Irish coast helicopter came into earshot when it passed over his home village of Blacksod. Moments later that helicopter would crash. A search for the missing crew would last 42 days and Sweeney would find himself reporting on the tragedy for the duration of the search.
As part of his residency award, Sweeney has been making a feature length documentary telling the story through a series of interviews with local Erris people who found themselves involved with and affected by the tragedy and the resulting 42 day search. As the residency draws to a close, he will hold an exhibition of photography and give a talk on his experience, reporting the events at the time and outlining his plans for the forthcoming documentary.
The exhibition will run until March 2 in Ballina Arts Centre. Admission is free and all are welcome.