The Haven Café, Bachelors Quay, Cork
March to June 2019
How and why do we seek refuge and safety in people and places?
Third Space, Smithfield, Dublin 7
November 2018 to January 2019
How can we make the journey toward rest in our fast-paced society and become more balanced?
This series of café exhibitions in independent cafés around Ireland began in response to the refugee crisis. More and more people have to uproot and leave their homes for a variety of reasons. Some flee for safety for their own and/or their families’ lives from war and violence. Climate change is also an affecting factor for some, as crops may falter and water becomes scarce. However, people have been emigrating for longer than we realise. It is just since the 1990s that we are really seeing the effects. People who come into our country (Ireland) from places of violence are seeking refuge and safety. They have been displaced from their homes and yearn to belong again. Their children are also affected in regard to their identity being of two cultures; between where their families come from and where they are raised. Read more...
As a result, we live in a multi-cultural society, making it all-the-more important to discuss themes such as identity, where we come from, how and where we were raised, the people who surround us, the people we surround ourselves with (for various reasons concerning acceptance),...Whether refugee, asylum seeker, migrant, born-and-raised national, born to a parent or parents from another country, varying ethnicity and religions, man, woman, various gender and sexual identities,... we all seek and desire to be accepted and loved; to belong.
Everything has its place and that includes each one of us as we navigate this life and search for a place to belong in and people who accept us and someone to belong with. We each find that place at different times in our lives, but once you have found it, will you help others find it? Will you go out of your way to make someone feel comfortable and welcome?
This series of café exhibitions is intended to continue these discussions among one another. The title Everything has its place also has a spiritual connotation. In this fast-paced, driven society, we are taught to always be planning the next step and looking toward the future, that we don’t even think to rest and experience the moment as it is happening. Everything has its place is about letting go of worries and anxiety for the future to simply allow things to happen in their own time. It’s not about doing nothing and hoping things will miraculously happen, but about not getting caught up in the stress and pressure of it all.
As a live artist, my performances with iridescent plastic film are quite improvisational, because when I perform, I let go of the control for things to be perfect and allow myself and the audience to experience the performance, as the material reflects and casts colour and light on the surrounding space. For these exhibitions, I have taken the material and documented how it performs in natural locations, suggesting the concept of Everything has its place in regard to belonging and rest and experiencing the present. My poetry book Within Nature goes hand-in-hand with the visuals. It is currently out of print, but will be for sale as an ebook soon. The poems convey both personal and political views on what it means to belong, while the visuals exist as the experienced action that continues beyond the words.
As progression from these café exhibitions, I am developing further creative ways to communicate these universal themes of belonging and continue the discussion on what it means to belong. Less