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a section from Margaret Walkers acrylic painting depicting a stone bridge over a river with green fields and trees in the background.

Visual Art: ‘What am I?’ by Margaret Walker, Eileen Mulrooney and Brianna Hurley

2 - 23 Sep 2022, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm (Past)

Edmund Rice Visitors Centre, West Court, Callan, Co Kilkenny. R95 XD73

‘What am I?’

An exhibition of paintings by three KCAT Studio Artists, Margaret Walker, Eileen Mulrooney and Briana Hurley.

Curated by Róisín Power Hackett. Commissioned by KCAT Arts Centre

Exhibition from 2nd – 23rd September
Launch 2nd September, 2pm followed by Curators talk at 2.30pm

Audio described tour available.

This exhibition focuses on the landscape paintings by these three artists. Margaret Walker’s and Eileen Mulrooney’s artworks are landscapes of Callan and its surroundings. However, Briana Hurley’s work is of the invented landscapes on the imaginary planet Castilia. Altogether their work offers an insight into how landscape can be linked to our identities.

Artists who paint landscapes have historically often been seen as trying to root themselves to a place. In the Irish context, the landscape can be seen particularly as a postcolonial finding of identity. Since the beginning of the Irish plantations in the 1550s and until Independence in 1922 we ‘were never seen as inhabitants nor legitimate owners of the Irish landscape’[1].

Artists with disabilities like Margaret, Eileen, and Briana are still seeking to inhabit and own the landscape legitimately. There are physical, social, and sensory barriers in public spaces that prevent people with disabilities from feeling comfortable in urban and rural places. Margaret and Eileen are concerned with the Callan townscape and its architecture as well as the surrounding countryside. By painting these sites, both artists are taking back these sites, claiming them as their heritage and identity.

Briana’s landscapes of Castilia, often include depictions of the planet’s indigenous people gazing out across the land, bow and arrow in hand, waiting for the invading alien humans to attack. There is a glass wall that separates the two communities. In my opinion, her paintings show the division between people with and without disabilities, and the vulnerability and oppression felt by the disability community fighting to keep their ground with inadequate resources.

‘What Am I?’ includes audio descriptions of each artwork. These audio descriptions can be heard through headphones in the gallery or can be accessed through the QR codes printed beside each artwork. An audio version of Briana Hurley’s ‘The Story of Castalia’ is also available to listen to.

Roisin Hackett