Exceptional art complimented by beautiful music provided the perfect introduction to this year’s Fermanagh Live Arts Festival’s (FLive) Visual Arts Trail which officially launched last Friday night (September 6) at the Waterways Ireland gallery in Enniskillen.

The launch coincided with the opening of the exhibition ‘Resonance’ by internationally renowned Past President of The Royal Ulster Academy Julian Friers. The exhibition features 23 monumental portraits of cultural champions associated with the music industry, including three very special additional portraits of broadcaster and writer John Kelly, internationally renowned singer songwriter Neil Hannon and acclaimed traditional musician Gaby McArdle. All three are being exhibited for the first time.

FLive board member Noelle McAlinden led the proceedings on the night, as the Director of Business Development at Waterways Ireland John Boyle, Chairwoman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Siobhán Currie, Patricia Lavery of the Arts Council NI, artist and Senior Royal Ulster Academician Mavis Thomson and Julian Friers gave short speeches.

The launch concluded with an ethereal performance by local band Taobh Eile. The talented duo of Niamh Burns and Philana Nolan mesmerised the audience with their flawless harmonies as they performed songs from their new EP, which they were launching on the night. They were accompanied during their set by Jonathan Beatty on piano and Zoe Power on violin.

The FLive Visual Arts Trail will feature numerous exhibitions at various locations across Enniskillen.

This year’s exhibitions feature local, regional and internationally renowned artists, working in a range of media and materials, and include Fermanagh born Gerard McGourty at the Devenish Gallery alongside the mesmerising and imaginative sculptures of Wexford artist, Helen Merrigan Colfer, while local artist and architect Michael Donnelly celebrates his 90th Birthday with a solo exhibition, ‘An Artist’s Way’ at Enniskillen Library. Samantha Jones’ exhibition ‘Still’ is on display in the Jolly Sandwich and Siobhan Ferguson captures her perspective on Borders in a video installation at Fermanagh House.

There will be a celebration of emerging young artists from schools and colleges with a display of their work at South West College and at various town locations including the Island Town Creative Shop at Castle Buildings, Paget Square.

The prolific author and artist Gavin Weston’s interpretations of Aesop’s Fables prints can be viewed at Fermanagh House and as part of the ‘Inside a Writer’s Head’ event on October 3. Rosie McGurran’s exhibition, ‘When the Tide Turned’, is the final exhibition to be launched on Saturday, October 12 by Dr. Denise Ferran artist, art historian and past President of the Royal Ulster Academy (RUA).

Enniskillen Castle Museum hosts the much acclaimed National Museums NI Troubles Art Touring Exhibition which features responses to The Troubles by artists from NI and beyond. A related Artists Talk by Rita Duffy RUA will take place on Monday, September 16. The Museum is also showing ‘The Private Man, The Public Artist’ by the late Jeremy Henderson and pays tribute to Kathleen Bridle, artist and teacher with a touching exhibition of her work.