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During her visits to the woodlands of north Leitrim Paunovic formed a number of imaginary and mythological connections around the natural materials she found there and the image of the Irish Elk. The Elk’s antler construction became the focus and starting point for Paunovic’s large sculptural work in the gallery and whilst antler horns have traditionally symbolised fertility, power and abundance, Paunovic discovered an alternative and more sinister reading in terms of betrayal and deception which she further links to the extinction and fossilisation of the animal species. As Paunovic explains:

The betrayal of humankind to the animals, forests, biodiversity, water, etc is the moment we are living in. The extinct species like Irish Elk, became the big inspiration for my work and I decided to make the antlers as big as possible, spreading into the space and growing even more.

The sculptures exhibited are all part of an Ode to extinct species. Even though the antlers are the main form which dominates the space, all pieces are made from local materials such as limestone, stone dust, hazelwood, willow branches and moss. Each one of them is symbolically representing the fossils that are going to be left after our own betrayal of the planet, which, at the same time is a testament to our ignorance. The concept of being betrayed and helpless is also the inner feeling that allows me to associate myself with the elk, the trees and the fossils. I am the Elk, but I would like not to be an extinct species.

Maša Paunović

Maša Paunović is a Serbian sculptor, born 1981. She has exhibited her artwork internationally, as well as participated in numerous sculpture symposiums. Her solo and group exhibitions include five personal exhibitions in Serbia and one personal exhibition in South Korea, as well as more than 100 national and international group exhibitions. She received five awards for her sculpture, most notably the first award for sculpture at the international sculpture symposium Artifex in Spain and second award in the public competition for the sculpture of Miloš Obrenović in Serbia in 2014.

Maša completed her BA (2005) and MA (2010) studies at the Arts University in Belgrade (Faculty of Applied Arts). Equally, in 2012 she specialized in artistic treatment of metal at Centro TAM (Italy) and had a chance to work in the studio of Arnaldo Pomodoro in Milano.

LSC acknowledge the financial support of the Arts Council and Leitrim County Council.

Curated by Sean O'Reilly