April 07, 2004

Photos of Donegal, Ireland on display at museum

by Paula M. Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Unvarnished pictures of Donegal, Ireland and its hardy inhabitants -- captured by an area anthropologist and community college teacher -- are on exhibit through May 8 at the University Museum at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

"Na Rosa, Ireland: Ethno-Photography from the Rugged Land of Donegal" is the work of Richard Deutsch, an associate professor at John A. Logan College in Carterville.

A total of 28 black and white photographs make up the display. Their exhibition is one of several events planned as part of this year's annual Irish Festival in Carbondale.You may meet the photographer and view his work at a free public reception from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 22, at the museum, in the north wing of SIUC's Faner Hall. There will be free parking in lots near the Student Center.

Advised by a mentor to "photograph the place (because) nobody will read the book," Deutsch fired off some 1,800 frames of film during a three-month stay in winter, 2002.Deutsch became enamored of the area after opening a small ethnographic field school there in 1998.

It is a stark spot where the land is so sparse it appears as " . . . the bones of earth stick through its starved skin," in the words of the late Irish poet and author George Russell.

Na Rosa, in County Donegal, is also called The Rosses. Its name means headland in Gaelic, the country's native language and still favored by about a third of its residents.

It is a tightly knit area settled in the 13th Century by Irish stalwarts with such names as Sweeneys, Boyles, Gallaghers, Dohertys and Bonners.

See the new show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 1-4 p.m. Saturdays through Mondays.

Expanding cultural outreach efforts is among the goals of Southern@150, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.