Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Artist Gottfried Helnwein, left, in front of one of his artworks. He will launch the Imagine Arts Festival programme with Declan O’Rourke this Friday, September 16.


Imagine Arts Festival 2022


WATERFORD’S Imagine Arts Festival is proudly celebrating 21 years of culture, creativity and community this year. It extravagantly launches its 21st festival on Friday, September 16 at Christ Church Cathedral at 7pm.

Launching Imagine 2022’s programme are multi award-winning international Austrian-Irish artist Gottfried Helnwein and Irish singer and author Declan O’Rourke.

The Imagine Arts Festival 2022 boasts a brilliantly eclectic ensemble of performance artists and show stopping productions across the arts spectrum to engage and mesmerise attendees. An abundance of historical and heritage happenings strongly feature within the exciting six-day programme, which also includes Waterford Writers Weekend.

The theme of the 21st Imagine Arts Festival is the Waterford Estuary. It is the central focus as what it gives and takes from us is explored; people, culture, language, song, dance, food, laughter, tears, joy, commerce, wins, losses and life.

Featuring music artists, including Moonlight Benjamin, John Francis Flynn and Susan O’Neill, the festival includes many Waterford visual, musical, traditional artists and historians.

Gottfried Helnwein is an artist, painter, photographer, installation and performance artist, whose work consists mainly of hyper-realistic watercolours depicting wounded children, as well as performances often with children in public spaces.

Helnwein is concerned primarily with psychological and sociological anxiety, historical issues and political topics, and as a result of this his work is often considered provocative and controversial. Helnwein has also donated an exquisite portrait to the Waterford Gallery of Art for their Portrait and Place Exhibition.


Declan O’Rourke


Declan O’Rourke is a song writer and author and powerful storyteller with “empathy and melody in abundance”.

“Declan’s ability to emotionally blindside you with a flash of beautifully observed detail is incredible,” says Pete Paphides, writer, journalist and broadcaster.

Declan said of launching the Imagine Arts Festival: “The Imagine festival sounds like a perfect celebration of Waterford’s incredibly rich and colourful history. I love Waterford and very much look forward to taking part in launching the festival in its honour.”

Sarah Jane Cleary, Imagine Festival Creative Director, describes the festival as “encapsulating history, diversity, authenticity, self-acceptance, metaphor and vitality with a mix of programmes, celebrating the timeless resilience and unique cultural heritage of our port and city. The Let’s Talk Waterford series explores the impact made by the estuary on our community.

“The Imagine Arts Festival 2022 reinvents itself as a visually spellbinding urban installation of a living, historical narrative. Our desire is to capture the imagination with an arts programme that blends the classic and contemporary, that will stimulate and inspire across multiple platforms and genres.”



Imagine are delighted to include the Waterford Writers Weekend programme, which runs from October 28-30, and features some of Ireland and Waterford’s literary talents. This year the programme explores the notion of place and belonging with Aingeala Flannery, David Toms, Jessica Traynor and Megan Nolan amongst others.

As always there is plenty for the established and aspiring writer with workshops from Joanne McCarthy, Derek Flynn and Anne Tanam, as well as open mic nights with Waterford legends Modwords and new kids on the block SpeakEasy.

“We are delighted to end the literary festivities with poet Mark Roper’s book launch – a long-time friend and contributor to both festivals,” said Sarah Jane.

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By Mary Frances Ryan
Contact Newsdesk: 051 874951

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