Conversations by Derval Freeman


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This work is in response to research I carried out on the horse skull that was unearthed during renovations in the foundations of ‘Old School’ building in Drangan, Co. Tipperary . It fascinated me to realise that the skull was purposefully buried and that it was a ritual carried out dating back through to the eighteen hundreds. The idea of a horse’s head being buried in the foundations of buildings in past history was almost an absurd thought to me but also a very interesting one on learning why.

The work I produced for the theme ‘Hidden History’ focuses on one and perhaps the most probable theory. This is where horse skulls were buried in the floors to help the acoustics in function halls and in churches for example, where they were often buried near alters to help the voice of the preacher to sound better over the rest.

I was drawn to the idea that the acoustics in a house or a hall of people at parties were heightened as a result of the buried horse heads. I immediately imagined a celebratory atmosphere of dancing shadows from a time long passed and I could imagine the echoing sounds of talking and laughter, over rhythmic sounds of feet moving and gliding across the floors with music echoing through.

I listened to music while producing this work as I always do when painting and the music I chose was uplifted energetic sounds to suit the vision I had in my mind at the time. In the work I wanted to create a sense of dance, movement, flight and float in a bright atmospheric surrounding where colour plays a big part too.

Conversations: Acrylic on Canvas 40 cm x 40 cm