SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — An attraction at The Dublin Zoo, called “2019 Wild Lights,” featured artwork on lit up lanterns that featured Ogham artwork that looks similar to the work of a Southington artist, Colleen Berry Conway’s. She says it is definitely her signature artwork and she did not allow the zoo to use it.
Conway loves being Irish. But, almost a month before St. Patrick’s Day her Irish eyes are not smiling. She’s in a battle with The Dublin Zoo in Ireland.
She prides herself in creating artistic pieces using letters in an ancient Irish alphabet at the core. That alphabet is known as Ogham.
“Celebrating a hidden part of Irish history. A lot of people don’t know about the Ogham alphabet, so it’s been a lot of fun educating people about this part of Irish history.”– Colleen Berry Conway/ Irish-American artist
She says her artwork includes unique, distinctive features that she adds to the letters when she creates.
“The ball at the top and the wisp on the bottom are indistinguishably mine,” she explained.
That’s why, she says, it was like a punch in the gut when she saw video out of Ireland with her artwork on a public zoo display, artwork of hers used without her permission.
“I recognized it immediately,” she said. “I felt very violated …. like someone just ripped my spirit out.”
News 8 sent an email to the Dublin Zoo’s legal team Tuesday morning. We are awaiting their response.
Conway says she has been in contact with them and is trying to get her name somewhere on the exhibit, but so far that effort has been unsuccessful.
There’s no word yet if she will sue the zoo. She told News 8 this isn’t about money, it’s about fighting for what she says is getting the recognition she deserves.
The holiday exhibit at The Dublin Zoo draws thousands of people and is a highlight there every year.
Conway says what should be a personal highlight for her has turned into a nightmare.
She’s been creating Irish art for 9 years and sells pieces online.
For more information, and to learn more about Conway’s work: www.oghamArt.com