The Lough Erne Landscape Partnership (LELP) successfully launched the “Wellness Through Nature Art Exhibition” last month. This immersive event took place on November 3 and 4 and was hosted on the picturesque Castle Island in Enniskillen.

The heart of this exhibition revolved around the profound connection between art and nature, as artists delved deep into the Fermanagh landscape, its cherished memories, and the imperative need for conservation and protection of its local species.

Of particular focus was the Curlew – a migratory bird species that utilises Lough Erne as a vital breeding habitat during the spring and summer months.

The ‘Wellness Through Nature’ project, curated by LELP in collaboration with Anna McGurn of Anna Muddyfingers McGurn, was made possible through the support and funding of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

This funding allowed LELP to deliver an engaging eight-week art workshop programme, beginning in March, and spanning across seven different locations in Fermanagh, including Enniskillen, Lisnaskea, Irvinestown, Derrylin, Belcoo, Belleek, and Willowbridge School.

A curlew arts cruise – the first of its kind – was also hosted in the summer, and allowed 37 people the opportunity to create artworks whilst cruising amongst the beauty and serenity of lower Lough Erne.

Elmarie Swanepoel, Programme Manager for LELP, said: “This project and the exhibition over the last weekend has been a huge success.

“I have been heartened to hear first-hand accounts of local people involved who are reporting an improvement in their health and wellbeing, and a deeper connection that they now have with the Fermanagh Landscape and the special, and threatened, breeding wader bird species that uses the shores of Lough Erne to breed during the summer months.

“We look forward to taking the exhibition to another two locations before the end of the year, and working with the well-known artist Kevin McHugh to create a public mural that will provide a beautiful showpiece recognising the Curlew, one of the truly special birds of Lough Erne.”

Dr. Paul Mullan, Director for Northern Ireland at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Landscapes and nature form the bedrock of our culture and heritage, sparking curiosity, imagination and improving wellbeing.

“National Lottery players have highlighted natural heritage as especially important and valued because of the positive effect it can bring to all our daily lives.

“We’re delighted to have been part of this project and the success of the exhibition so far in creating connections, both with nature and art and with Lough Erne as the backdrop, helping to build a greater sense of community and belonging.”

The Wellness Through Nature exhibition can be viewed at Lisnaskea Library during opening hours until January 4.