Ireland's Eye 2023WTC 2 Lobby, 13 March 2023 – 7 April 2023
Five artists, Orla Comerford, Myfanwy Frost Jones, Michelle Malone, Mandy O’ Neill and Lucy Peters explore critical questions of climate change, globalisation, social inequality and rapid technological change, from the unique perspective of an island perched between the European and American continents. This island of Ireland has made significant contributions to the worlds of knowledge, culture and entertainment, a unique vantage point to shape an independent and creative vision.
In this exhibition, there are important questions around what constitutes our individual, communal and national identities. What defines us? Is it the clothing we wear, manufactured on the other side of the world or is it the equally globalized digital content we consume? Could it be our intimate family histories which are intertwined with social histories, or is it found in our attitudes towards inward migration and the acceptance of new communities. Are we paying enough attention to the subtle changes in our environment which will impact our ability to produce food in an unpredictable world climate in the future.
Mata Irlandia, or ‘Irelands Eye’ is an exhibition casting a critical ‘eye’ on an increasingly connected, yet polarised world. The island of Irelands recent history has much in common with Indonesia’s journey to independence. In Ireland, the revolutionary poets helped to imagine the new nation into being, while in Indonesia the visual artists envisioned a singular nation from the myriad colonial and archipelagic histories and cultures of Indonesia.
Today, the island nations of Ireland and Indonesia share in common a deep sense of cultural and artistic identity that is manifested in many forms, from music, crafts, storytelling, film making and urban arts.
These five artists bring a nuanced, social, technological and interdisciplinary approach to the questions of individuality, globalization and how artists make work about themselves and the places they call ‘home’ in the 21st century.
These artists are graduates of the Institute of Art, Design and Technology www.iadt.ie, Dublin City University www.dcu.ie, Technological University of Dublin www.tud.ie, Technological University, Shannon www.tus.ie Limerick, National College of Art and Design www.ncad.ie and Munster Technological University www.mtu.ie in Cork.
University education in Ireland has its roots in the medieval scriptoria of Irish monastic communities, where canonical Latin texts from southern Europe were transcribed and co-mingled on vellum with the wild beasts of our northern Celtic imagination. Beginning in the 16th Century with Trinity College, and through its National Universities and Technological Institutes, Ireland has the highest rate of university graduation in the EU.
Orla has been surrounded by a passion for woodworking, and the passing on of generational woodworking skills in her family has been an important subject matter in her work, also referencing the history of people with visual impairments in ‘Institutions for the Blind’ being taught tactile crafts as a means of employment in a society with no access to other opportunities. While the artist’s video work asks the viewer to consider ways of seeing, it also focuses on the opportunities and accessibility that technology offers the visually impaired nowadays.
Orla received a first-class hons in Fine Art Media at the National College of Art and Design in 2022. She has exhibited work in the Royal Dublin Society Visual Arts Awards Exhibition and received the RDS Members Fund Award.
A multi award winning artist, Myfanwy studied at the Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork city. She is the recipient of the Royal Dublin Society Mason Hayes & Curran LLP CC Irlandais Residency Award 2022, Sample Studios Associate Residency Award, National Sculpture Factory Residency Award and the Backwater Artist Studios Moving Image Bursary in 2022.
Her work has been shown as part of IndieCork, Living Canvas Dublin and Paris Photo with a solo show at the MTU Exhibition Centre and Studio 12 BAG Cork.
It is her belief that the art industry needs to let marginalised people tell their own story. She believes that objects have a collectively known cultural value and that all materials are biased. It is her intention to instrumentalise and weaponise the shared meaning of materials and objects to visually tell working-class histories, and to create embodied empathy/identity for the subject matter.
The ultimate goal of her practice is to enter authentic working-class symbolism into the artistic canon.
Mandy has an MA in Public Culture Studies and a BA in Photography. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Selected exhibitions include Photo Museum Ireland, National Gallery of Ireland, Draíocht and CCI Paris. She received funding from Arts Council of Ireland, Dublin City Council, Creative Ireland and Culture Ireland and was winner of the 2018 Zurich Portrait Prize at the National Gallery of Ireland. She is currently undertaking a practice-based PhD at Dublin City University, funded by the Irish Research Council.
Making It Laaaast is a series of soft sculptures informed by research into production and consumption practices, and the physical architecture of fashion retail display. Her sculptures are made by methodically dismantling discarded items of clothing into material components, which are then slowly woven and knotted into large textured forms. Each piece can take up to five months to complete, and each work is composed of material that has been recycled, donated or discarded.
In 2022, Lucy received a MA in Art and Research Collaboration from the Institute of Art Design and Technology, Dunlaoghaire, Ireland. Lucy’s work also featured in the Royal Dublin Society’s Visual Arts Awards 2022 where she received the Royal Hibernian Academy’s Graduate Studio Award 2022.