Lockdown was a time of monumental change, not only in artistic practice but also in terms of relocation and environment. Searching for a safe space to isolate. I had been living and working in Leipzig for the year previous, in a very small flat in an area that we didn’t feel safe in. When the news of an imminent lockdown surfaced, myself and my partner had to make a big decision in a hurry. We had been planning to move to my home country in Ireland later in the year, so our choice was: do we stay here and wait out the lockdown in a space we were unhappy in, or do we move immediately to Ireland where we had a safe spacious place waiting for us in my family home but leave our belongings behind because of the short notice?
We decided to move right then, but I had to make the tough decision of leaving all my work behind in Germany with my partner’s family who live there. It wasn’t possible to take my paintings on my plane and a courier was far too expensive. So here I am sharing my last work interrupted by our move, work that I will reclaim to finish when travel is once again possible and we can be reunited once more. (Apologies for the low quality images, they are screenshots of stills from phone videos I was taking of my progress as I worked)
I was inspired by a photograph my friend took of two nuns crossing a pedestrian crossing in the sunlight to reach the other side of the path enveloped in shade. Ireland has a very fraught history with religious institutions, Catholicism is deeply embedded in our culture and history as it formed the people’s identity when the Irish were suffering greatly under the invasion of the British empire and their punishment of those who attempted to retain aspects of their identity; such as language, religion and values. Therefore it was an important part of unity within individual communities, but in recent years the scandals that have arose from the Church have marred perception of the institution and resulted in dwindling numbers practicing the faith.
Though I was raised Catholic and attended a Catholic school, I would now consider myself generally spiritual instead, rather than a member of a particular doctrine. I am influenced by Irish history in my work and creative process, it is one of suffering and rebellion, and I still enjoy the visual elements of religious art, music and architecture. I find that it evokes a sense of calm and beauty for anyone, not just those associated with it in a fundamental way.
Deeply looking forward to being reunited with my work once more, when I can travel ro Germany to bring it over here to my home. Hope everyone is keeping well and safe X