Painting a poem for Arts and Aging initiative

June 27, 2024 in Featured News, News

In response to a national initiative to bring art and creativity into the lives of elderly people, former Jesuit and art therapist Colm Brophy produced a series of paintings for display in Cherryfield Nursing Home, Milltown. The series is based closely on the language of renowned Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins in his poem ‘God’s Grandeur’ ».

‘The grandeur of God’, ‘shining from shook foil’, ‘gathers to a greatness’, ‘ooze of oil’, ‘Generations have trod’ – each of these phrases of Hopkins became an inspiration for Colm to capture a sensation on his canvas. “I got a kind of obsession,” he commented, “about trying to paint things that you can’t see”, and many of the abstract works in the series bear this out. In all, he produced twenty-four paintings, and they were put on the walls around a community space in Cherryfield.

Many of the Cherryfield residents went around to view all of Colm’s paintings. He spoke to a group of them about his project, which gave rise to a lively conversation about the meaning of the paintings and the artistic choices which Colm made.

The purpose of the national initiative is to mark the integral role of art in bringing therapeutic benefits, happiness and joy to the lives of residents in nursing homes. Colm is happy that his paintings did indeed have this effect. He is currently looking for other venues where the Hopkins series could be displayed.