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Heritage Ireland

These Shoes are made for Drawing


Free of charge


04/08/2023 - 10/09/2023

An exhibition of etchings by Christina Todesco-Kelly

Until Sunday 10th September 2023

Open daily during CaToCa Café hours

The Journey of Oscar’s Shoes – Artist Statement

It seems such an age away that I looked at his tiny hands and feet, so dependent, and somewhat of a miracle, that, at the age of 41, I held my healthy new-born boy, Oscar. I can’t quite understand why, however, I had a need to keep his shoes from the first baby slippers to the day he started university. Maybe it was an unconscious desire to preserve this special time we shared.

I came to art early in life, only to be dissuaded from it by a middle-class English parental influence, where it was not advisable or encouraged to be an artist, but, instead, essential to have a stable career. Hence, my early professional life was in corporate London before literally flying out of the city by taking a job at British Airways, eventually as cabin crew, where it enabled me to visit every art museum and opera I could manage. It was my de-facto art education that I craved before leaving to focus on being the parent that I had also been discouraged from being but wanted so much to be.

In 2017, with parental duties lessening, I undertook some life drawing classes above a Dublin art shop and was encouraged enough to apply to the RHA Dublin drawing program. This soon progressed from being taught to being admitted into the self-directed life drawing classes. It was at this time that another quite extraordinary and life-changing event happened; I was late to my first class, and not wanting to cause a disturbance with the session about to start, I made my way to the back of the large room to reach the only available easel – an enormous heavy wooden one suitable for large canvases. The result was that my view of the model was severely restricted, and, armed with one small sheet of paper and an ink pen, I realised the only way I was going to participate was to draw with my left-hand, not my natural right.

This was meant purely as a temporary measure until the expected morning break. However, to my surprise I found that there was a freedom of drawing with my left hand, and even more surprisingly the results excited me on first viewing. The images that ensued came out so different and distinct from what might be rightly described as my former ‘academic style’, I continued for the rest of the day using my left hand and have never again used my right hand to draw to this day.

My son’s journey from birth to 18 is expressed in these drawings, since made into etchings; the shoes he has worn might be regarded, by you as the viewer, as his and possibly any child’s footprints from hesitant baby steps to confident adulthood.

Christina Todesco-Kelly

View of Emo Court entrance from treecover

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