Originally from Islandmagee in Co. Antrim, Henshaw practised in Belfast at Queen Street Studios artists collective for just under a decade before moving to Fermanagh where she has been based for 17 years. Over the past two decades, Henshaw has exhibited throughout the world in locations in Europe, North America, Asia and Indonesia. She has held numerous international artist residencies in Antwerp, New York, Kerala, New Dehli and Orissa, South India, and has been artist-in-residence in Ireland at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Monaghan, Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Mayo, and The Model in Sligo.
This series of work originates from Diane Henshaw’s investigation of dinnseanchas as topography (the science of place). The term originally referred to an ancient genre of mythological geography that gave a poetic account of place names. Dinn means place (an eminent site or locale); sean means old, and is associated with the figure of the seanchaí or local storyteller, the keeper of lore and memory; and cas means to twist. Poetically, the word suggests the twisting together of strands of collective memory of place perhaps forming a single narrative core, or (in a more visual idiom) a tapestry weaving together place and people, memory and experience, history and present desire.
Diane is seeking in her works to express the spirit of dinnseanchas in a modern idiom, as a cognitive-imaginative mapping of the environment through forms of artistic engagement. Diane deals with the abstract and her work is known for its paired down lines and formulated composition. Her artistic process displays the history of marks of decisions past, of the time spent, and the material layers used to build up her images. The overall impression is that the drawing process may contain anything, but its success depends upon combining its parts into a cohesive, spontaneous unity.
A0+ / mixed media on paper this work was made to a piece of ethereal and sublime Irish folk music about the summer solstice by Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh entitled the halting sun – please click here to have a listen to her incredible fiddle tune that inspired the work: