Sunday, September 21, 2014

´The Arrival´- Fashion Art EU 2014 - To be exhibited at the European Parliement from 17/11/2014 - 15/05/201




Seamus Heaney – Irish poet 1939 – 2013

Poem – The Tollund Man (1973) and the poets reflections.

After being presented with this commission by The Fashion Art Institute Madrid and taking into
consideration that it will be exhibited in the European Parliament I felt it should reflect the work of
the Irish poet Seamus Heaney who passed away last year.

The exhibition will comprise of  twenty eight artist, one from each member state and the work should reflect in some way the culture of that country and it´s relation to the EEC.

- Commissioned by The Fashion Art Institute Madrid.


I took the poem ´The Tullond Man¨ from 1973, the same year that Ireland joined the EEC.
Leading from this poem I came across a talk that the poet gave in 1996 at Silkborg Museaum
where he described his childhood memories of the bog and how he remembered a neighbor
digging up an Irish Elk ‘which are things that are a great astonishment to a child’.





This struck me as something very poignant to both Ireland and Heaney himself. After reading a touching reflection on Seamus Heaney by the poet Theo Dorgan I felt my inspiration reinforced.

Dorgan writes art of Heaney is ¨ the art of retrieving a moment and holding it to the light of attention, turning it in the hand until it had revealed not just its many facets but deep truths breathing quiet and patient at the heart of the thing* ¨.

Theo Dorgan continues ¨ the art Heaney practiced, to be sure, was the art of poetry, but the
mother and medium of his art was memory¨.




What I became most aware of when reading Heaneys poems was of myself as an Irishman living in Spain. Heaney´s poems are internationally reputed but they are also quintessentially Irish.


While working on this project I came across a book I bought a number of years ago called ´The
arrival’ by Shaun Tan a second generation Asian immigrant of Australian citizenship. It portrays
the story of an immigrant and other short stories of other immigrants purely in pictorial form.


It’s a beautiful book and from this I took the image of the origami bird to represent the immigrant.The birds are painted onto the bottom part of the dress and connected to some of  the branches or roots on the top part of the dress.

I had not intended to actually write the verses of  ´The Tullond Man´ onto the dress but as I began to paint on the birds and attach the branches it just seemed to make sense.

I feel that the text along with the branches makes the piece more tactile and more curious.




* Theo Dorgan – The Royal Hibernian Academy Annual show catalogue 2014.




I would like to give a very special thank you to 
two very good friends of mine Oscar Barrios and Juan Porres who collaborated with me on creating a video to document the making of the commission at La Tabacalera in Madrid.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgtNvpqqmw0

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