' The Gerard Manley Hopkins Summer School has made a brave effort to include a visual element in its programme only appropriate . .
'One of Europe's most exciting cultural forums'
' one of the best literary festivals in Ireland '
James McKenna, Sculptor and creator of the GM Hopkins monument in Monasterevin died on October 10, 2000. Visitors to the Hopkins Summer School since its inception in 1987 were privileged, like all of us, to hav known James, his compassion, his creative energy, his great sense of humour. Here we have added clippings from the newspapers recording his passing (See also the Hopkins Society tribute to James
of Sculptor James McKenna
The sculptor, playwright and poet, James McKenna, has died at his home in Kildare. He was 67.
One of the foremost Irish figurative sculptors of the 20th century, he is best known for several public and private commissions, including his large limestone monument Resurgence at the University of Limerick and Female Figure and Tree at the Central Bank in Sandyford.
The Chairman of the Arts Council, Mr Patrick Murphy, described him as `one of the most talented artists of his generation . . . a Renaissance man in the true sense.'
McKenna was born in Dublin and grew up in Co. Wicklow. From Bray Technical School he went to the National College of Art and Design, gaining a diploma in sculpture in 1995.
He quickly established himself as an energetic presence on the art scene in Dubln, exhibiting with the Irish Exhibition of Living Art. He was one of the founder members of the Independent Artists group. His play, The Scatterin', was a success at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1960. In the 1960s and 70s his Rising Ground Drama Group staged his stylised masked dramas at theProject Arts Centre.
James was a fiercely idealistic critic of the Arts Council of the time. He believed in art as a progressive, egalitarian force and was an often combative outsider in terms of the artistic and political establishment. He worked predominantly in stone and wood, and horses remained one of his favourite subjects.