In the southeast corner of Lough Neagh, scattered across the landscape of Derrytresk Bog, a unique temporary environmental sculpture trail has been installed by artist Rosalind Lowry.

Based on the plants, lichen and wildflowers found on the bog, the temporary sculpture trail is an opportunity to walk along the bog pathways and ramparts while discovering contemporary art along the way.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Rosalind has been Project Artist for the Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership for the last two years and during lockdown has been busy creating a series of 15 temporary installation pieces for the Bog ramparts.

The sculptures and installations are themed on the history and geology of the bog, including some of the wonderful wildflowers and lichen not visible to the naked eye. The temporary works range in scale and position, some merge into the landscape around them and others can be seen from a distance.

The artist took inspiration from the names of some of the varied and beautiful species of plant life growing in the area such as Rusty Bog Moss, Cow Horn Moss or Eastern Rocket wildflowers and interpreted them into sculptural installations to raise awareness of the wonderful unique places that bogs are. There is even a special installation based on the old folk cures of the local plants such as boiled honeysuckle leaves to get rid of freckles or the chewing of willow bark for toothache. 

Rosalind’s work on this project has been based on the Northern Ireland Endangered Species List, which contains 481 species. The list is about to be updated but at present contains 66 species of moths alone, the curlew, otter, Irish hare, the cuckoo and several hundred other endangered and red-listed species. The number on the list is likely to be very much higher when updated in 2021.

BOG INSPIRATION: Rosalind Lowry's installations celebrate endangered flora.

BOG INSPIRATION: Rosalind Lowry's installations celebrate endangered flora.

 In 2019. Rosalind was commissioned to create a temporary environmental installation for Saint Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast which was called The Ark. Her next project is to create a large scale art book dedicated to the 481 species on the endangered list.

Rosalind is no stranger to creating sculpture trails; in 2019 she was Artist in Residence for the Alaska State Government where she created a trail in the Alaska State Parks to encourage people to use different trails and explore the area.

Living alone in a log cabin with an outside toilet in the Alaskan wilderness, Rosalind created a series of works to encourage people to look at the National Parks of Alaska in a different way. She shared the space with a few black bears so each time she left the cabin she was armed with a portable radio at full volume and a can of bear spray. When I was on a cross community programme back in the day in Thunder Bay, Canada we were always told you cannot outrun a bear and singing and rolling up into a ball are the best lines of defence. 

The full bog installation project is being curated by a Zurich based Artists Collective who are posting Rosalind’s daily diary from the Bog. 

The art trail will continue until Friday 7 May 2021 and the Bog can be found off the Reenaderry Road at Coalisland.

Artist Jacqueline Wylie returned to Belfast from Manchester to study for her PhD. Based in Creative Exchange artists’ studios, she invites anyone in the disabled community to join in on an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months of covid lockdown and make documentary or reflexive artwork via photography, drawing and social media.

We know that disabled people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and this project is an opportunity for individuals to take a snapshot to illustrate how they have been affected. 

The website of Belfast-born composer Brian Irvine says he is great at the Rubik's Cube but rubbish at DIY which just goes to prove you cannot be good at everything.

However, he is a genius composer and premiered an opera for the Royal Opera House London on Friday as part of their 8bit commissions to inspire opera lovers while in person productions are closed.

It’s available on their main website along with eight others pieces. I’ve never seen an opera singer sing website spam before but the experimental piece is a delight. My favourites were FFall by Rakhi Singh showing the tracksuit bottomed, shaven headed Blackhaine, emerging from a metallic marathon blanket to the sound of soprano Mimi Doulton. The musicians are covered in dust sheets as if thrown over them when covid started waiting to emerge when the all clear bells is sounded. 

The All together alone piece by Anna Morrissey alternately shows what happened when trained dancers hear the music of a recomposed aria  by Ben and Max Ringham for the first time. It’s the only piece I played three times over while dancing around the living room when the techno beat came in.

If opera’s not your bag The Osmond’s new musical is booked in for the refurbished Opera House in Belfast. So if you’re looking for a ‘Long Haired Lover from Liverpool' and want to relive your youth, booking is open.