Wednesday 16 November 2016

Keeping Busy!

I have had a very busy few weeks, getting out and about! A few weeks ago, while my daughter was on mid-term break we made our way in to Dublin The National Museum at Collins Barracks. We thought it would be an awful shame if we didn't get to the special exhibition Proclaiming a Republic in the centenary year! Before going in to that exhibition, however, we noticed a small building dedicated to the yacht "Asgard". This private boat was used for gun-running in the early part of last century, prior to the 1916 Uprising. It was a fairly nice display, the yacht being the centrepiece with smaller historical artefacts, photographs and didactics in display cases and the surrounding walls.

Proclaiming a Republic is quite a huge exhibition, which is incredibly wide-ranging as it takes in both sides of the conflict, social and family issues, the suffragette movement and cultural aspects. I could easily have spent longer than I did (nearly two hours) at the exhibition but my teenage daughter does not have the stamina for museums... Amazingly, the republican flag that was raised at the GPO (General Post Office on O'Connell St (formerly Sackville St) is relatively intact. It was taken down by the British in 1916 but returned by the Crown for the 50th anniversary of the Rising.

At Collins Barracks we bumped into some friends we hadn't seen in awhile, which prompted us to go back into Dublin a few days later to see the VUE art fair that my last blog post talked about. A week later I found myself in Dublin again, at the National Print Museum for the launch of Theo Honohan's book Mechanicsville. The book is an "essay in 11 parts on the character of engineering", which I am finding fascinating and somewhat surreal (though I am not sure if this was the author's intention...). The Print Museum was the perfect setting for the launch, as it was a setting of machines - old printing presses, typesetting machines, paper ruling machines, etc. There were also some artefacts relevant to the centenary celebrations. I thought perhaps this was a draft of The Proclamation.

This was the third occasion I had to see a print of The Proclamation in as many weeks. First, on the day I was dropping off my books to be considered for the Dublin Art Book Fair, I had dropped in to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College, and a copy of The Proclamation was on display in Long Room. The second time was at The Proclaiming a Republic exhibition (above) and now here at The Print Museum.

I was in Dublin again a few days later, at the launch of the Dublin Art Books Fair at Temple Bar Gallery & Studios. My Good Morning books had been accepted into the curated artists' books section of the fair. The launch was pretty packed and there were a lot of art books and artist-made books. The atmosphere was fairly casual with people very interested in picking up and looking through the books. Here is a view of one of the large round tables.

And a close up of a set of my books (all three languages) on the table.

The following day I was back in Dublin, at IMMA for a lunchtime talk. The topic of Wounded Cities was fascinating and led by Professor Karen Till. There were two artists also involved in the talk, including my friend Susan Gogan who discussed her in-progress fictional film set in Berlin.

Though not in Dublin, the launch of the third (re-booted) issue of the Bray Arts Journal, took place at The Mermaid Arts Centre in Bray a few days later. A few of my images were included in the journal, but I was glad that the image of this 2012 painting, Together, was included alongside my poem Waking Dream, written shortly after the death of my Mum at the end of the summer.

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