Skip to main content


Bolay Residency 2021 - Maria McKinney

Maria Mc Kinney at the launch of her exhibtion Works of the Rural

The Linenhall Arts Centre is very pleased to announce visual artist Maria McKinney as the recipient of this year’s Bolay Residency.

McKinney, an artist from Donegal who creates work through a range of media including sculpture, installation, photography and video was awarded the ‘On Sight’ 2020 art commission at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park. Her project, ‘Straw Sister’ was a sculptural work exploring the tradition of the Strawboys in Ireland and the agricultural process of artificial insemination (AI) in cattle breeding.

McKinney’s practice involves responding to context and her recent work has a focus on agriculture and cattle breeding in particular. Her research delves into the ongoing and deepening understanding of genetics, how this is being applied, and the wider societal implications. She has a myriad of activities to undertake during the residency including work with Irish Moiled farmers in Mayo; engagement with the Drumlin landscape; conversations with geological and heritage researchers in GMIT and Heritage Mayo; developing new approaches and responses to research gathered; and creative (possibly wearable) objects to be taken to and documented in the landscape. McKinney will also facilitate a Creative Schools project with Foxford National School during her time in Mayo later this year.

The Bolay Residency is focused on artists who feel disconnected from their work and McKinney will use the time on the residency to re-energise her practice after the challenging period of Covid, and the loss of momentum experienced by losing a number of exhibition opportunities. She said, “I’m delighted and very grateful to be selected for the Bolay artist residency with the Linenhall Arts Centre. Their generous support will allow me to reconnect and grow my practice after such a tumultuous period.”

The residency encompasses a purpose-built studio in the Linenhall, accommodation at Lough Lannagh Village, tailored mentorship, a purpose-built digital suite, an artist fee of €8,000, a materials budget of €2,000 and an exhibition opportunity at the Linenhall in 2022. “We’re really honoured to host Maria as this year’s recipient”, commented Linenhall Director, Bernadette Greenan. “We’re looking forward to seeing how her work develops, particularly after the challenges of the past two years.”

McKinney was selected from among 103 applicants by a panel consisting of artist and Linenhall Board Trustee, Bryan Gerard Duffy; Acting Arts Officer of Mayo County Council, Ann Marie McGing; multidisciplinary artist and curator, Edy Fung; curator and director of CCA Derry-Londonderry, Catherine Hemelryk; and Linenhall Director, Bernadette Greenan. Due to the substantial nature of the residency, the application process was managed by Shelly McDonnell of Visual Artists Ireland.

“The Linenhall will benefit greatly from Maria McKinney’s energetic, dedicated and multi disciplinary approach to her practice. Maria brings an abundance of experience and professionalism to the Bolay Residency and her in-depth research into the Irish Moiled (Moilie of Maol) cattle breed is specific to the Drumlin Belt which extends into the North Connaught region. The DNA of Mayo’s arts culture is about to be infused with the DNA of its agricultural community.', enthused Linenhall Board Trustee, Bryan Gerard Duffy.

McKinney will take up her residency at the Linenhall on Tuesday, October 26th 2021 for a period of 8 weeks ending on Friday, December 17th 2021.