Ray Kelly has spent the last 30 years seeking out tholtans (the Manx word for the ruins of a building) across the island and his passion for these derelict farmhouses can be seen throughout the exhibition.
Discussing the inspiration to hold this exhibition, Ray Kelly said; “Having been born a Manx man with a long tradition of farming, I have an interest in keeping the heritage of the Isle of Man alive.
Walking in these remote places, the feeling of tranquillity is overwhelming, and I am mindful of the hardship that the inhabitants of these buildings endured to survive and make a living.
I don’t think I can ever say categorically that I have recorded every tholtan, but I am happy that the ones I visited are now stored forever, frozen in time on the day I took the pictures.”
The exhibition will feature photographic prints by Ray Kelly that document the historical importance of these buildings, before they waste away forever. Ray’s prints are complemented with beautifully detailed 3D artworks by Niamh Kelly, including ceramic tholtans skilfully captured in miniature form.
Hannah Murphy, Assistant Curator for Manx National Heritage, who is working alongside Ray and Niamh to develop the exhibition, commented:“Along with the work produced by Ray and Niamh we have used objects and archives drawn from our collections to tell us more about these places; once thriving homes and farmsteads, now crumbling into the earth. The peace and tranquillity of these sites is poignantly captured by Ray and Niamh.”
The upcoming exhibition has kindly been supported by local Isle of Man investment firm, WHIreland International Wealth. WH Ireland Group plc Deputy Head of Group Marketing, Symon Walmsley adds; “We are delighted to support Manx National Heritage in hosting this exhibition because we believe that it’s important for all of the team at WHIreland to play a part in the community where we live and work. Manx Tholtans are, for many, a little known subject and we were delighted to have the opportunity to work with Manx National Heritage and find out more about these fascinating buildings and the Island’s past through the eyes of Ray and Niamh. I am confident that for all those who visit the exhibition, it will be a thought-provoking glimpse into the Island’s rural history.”
The special exhibition at the Manx Museum runs from 7 October 2017 until 28 January 2018 with free admission.
(Pictured left to right; Ray Kelly, Hannah Murphy, Assistant Curator at Manx National Heritage and Symon Walmsley, Deputy Head of Group Marketing, WH Ireland Group plc)