Meet the selected artists for ‘Dear PrEUdence: A Positive Headspace in the EU’
‘Dear PrEUdence: A Positive Headspace in the EU’ is a new art exhibition that will be held at European Parliament in Brussels 10-13 October. The exhibition launch is October 10th to coincide with World Mental Health Day. 12 artists, all graduates of ATU Galway City, have been selected to display their work.
This project is developed and funded by Maria Walsh MEP, Atlantic Technological University, Galway School of Design and Creative Arts, European Parliament in Brussels and the Galway Culture Company which is supported by the Government of Ireland under the National Development Plan through the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
Conor Burke is an artist based in Galway city, Ireland. His work for the exhibition is titled “Consciousness” and explores the intricate interplay of class power relations within the built environment. Using architectural images from working class housing estates in Galway city he seeks to critically examine how architecture, urban planning, and spatial design have historically perpetuated and reinforced socio-economic inequalities. Through his work, he aims to raise awareness and challenge the dominant narratives that have marginalized and disempowered certain communities.
Kathleen (Catherine) Donoghue is an Irish artist living and working in Galway Ireland. Kathleen graduated in 2023 in Contemporary Art (Hons) from ATU School of Design & Creative Arts Galway.
Kathleen’s art explores the landscape of destruction caused by war, climate change and natural disaster, examining its impact on human, environment, and landscape.
Kathleen focuses on issues of mental health, memory, loss, uprooting, migration, decimation, transformation, and the role of social media, in her paintings. Kathleen works primarily from media and personal photos utilizing a process of disruption, fragmentation, and blurring, reflecting the devastation caused by war, climate change and natural disasters.
Kathleen uses a layering process of oil and wax on canvas.
Eileen Fair is a legally blind multi-disciplinary artist from Ireland and a recent graduate in contemporary art. She was born with a hereditary rare eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) which has caused tunnel vision and acute light sensitivity. With only five degrees of central visual field remaining, she continually adjusts to diminishing sight.
For the exhibition, the artist’s handwritten personal statement was enlarged on a sublimation print on linen and hand embroidered. This piece took over sixty-five hours to embroider. It is presented with the tiny needle and the needle threader which made it possible to describe in miniature stitching, her day-to-day difficulties with reduced visual acuity. More importantly, it celebrates her resilience and determination to be better because of it.
Maura’s practice pivots around materiality and the visually – tactile defining power of this language. The core objectives continue into research surrounding T/trauma, specifically trans-generational or inter-generational trauma, childhood T/trauma and the residual ‘brain washing’ associated within patriarchal and post-colonial societies.
For the exhibition, Maura’s sculptural work “Emotional Baggage” takes form through soft material being subjected to harsh transmutational processes (tearing, ripping, piercing, slitting, knotting, strangling etc) as metaphor for the human strangling itself in order to ‘conform’ to society. Other forms arise through the use of unorthodox materials, purposely mutating into something ‘other’ rejecting its nature.
Katie Moore is a visual artist based in Co. Mayo. She graduated from ATU Galway with an MA in Creative Practice in 2018. She also graduated with a BA first class honours in Design in Textiles in 2015.
Becoming a mother is such a monumental time in one’s life. The importance of having a tribe of mothers supporting each other can be essential to your well-being. Mum and baby groups are an amazing space, full of understanding, openness and kindness.
Katie’s artwork is made of flowers that are dried, delicate looking. She uses flowers that have meaning, and symbolism. Flowers are often given as gifts, a celebration or even in grief.
Theresa is a mixed media artist living in Galway city on the West coast of Ireland. In Theresa’s work presented in the exhibition, the dolls reflect an aspect of her individuation process. Theresa’s spontaneous engagement with the art-making allowed her unconscious material to surface, enabling greater consciousness, personal growth and authenticity in the world. Theresa made the dolls in Spring 2022. The exploration of various materials and the application of embellishment and ornamentation reminded Theresa of the healing qualities of play in her childhood.
Brigid uses her practice to examine the trauma of grief and the effect loss has to the anxious state. Through interdisciplinary methods of film, printmaking, installation, animation, drawing and social engagement Brigid processes the experience of life and death.
In Brigid’s studio practice she uses drawing to explore her thoughts and work through emotions. The animations are raw and fast sketches that develop in real time. Brigid is more concerned with the process than the outcome and a space to play. Brigid hopes that sharing these works can open up creative spaces for conversations about normal feelings like anxiety and fear and how these feelings can be managed.
Gerri O’ Brien
Gerri O’ Brien was born in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary in 1964 and has lived in Galway since 2000. She studied Fine Art at Limerick College of Art and Design (LSAD) 1982-85. She completed a BA in Textiles in Design in Textiles, (First Class Hons) at GMIT, Galway in 2007 and a Masters in Design History and Material Culture at NCAD, Dublin in 2009.
Gerri’s textile piece in the exhibition is a comment on the under-resourced services for children and adolescents awaiting referrals to psychiatric and psychological services in Ireland. It invites viewers to reflect on this deficit in the provision of care.
Karena Ryan is a Visual Artist from Tuam, County Galway.
A constant strand in her practice is the history of place, ancestry and the changing landscape.
Her textile artworks have been inspired by vintage black and white photographs of her own ancestors. Despite the faceless portrait we can make a connection with the figures. She is interested in the narrative, the relationships between the figures and the space between.
Karena merges traditional embroidery with her own contemporary style combining paint with stitch and hand beading. She finds that adding stitch to cloth, in particular these vintage heritage Irish fabrics, is meditative and contemplative and is the perfect medium to explore the stories of those who have come before her.
Naoise Sheridan is an award-winning Irish artist based between Galway and Wicklow. Her practice is primarily focused on human-kind’s forgotten place on the earth as creatures of nature, producing large-scale botanical paintings, installations, sculptures and murals featuring naturalistic creatures of the nude female figure. She is Co-Director of the 126 Gallery, Galway and has organised and curated multiple exhibitions over the past number of years while also mentoring ATU’s Contemporary Art students in Professional Practice. She is a member of the West End Art Collective and currently works out of MART studios Galway.
Find Naoise on Instagram at: @naoisesheridanart.
Soña Smedkova is a Czech multidisciplinary artist based in Galway, Ireland. Smedkova gained First-class Honours in Master of Arts in Creative Practice at the School of Design and Creative Arts, ATU, Galway. Smedkova’s work was recently exhibited in a group show DÉAD in Transmediale, Berlin under the Creative Pathways Programme, funded by Irish Embassy Berlin and Goethe Institute Ireland. The show is now travelling to Dublin and will be launched as part of the Culture Night at Goethe Institute Ireland. In an upcoming Dear PrEUdence Exhibition, Smedkova is showcasing her work Future Self 2020, dye sublimation print on aluminium, 2021 and Caress, sculptural aluminium forms, 2021. Both works are an investigation of entanglement between past and present events and the interplay of materiality and cultural background.
Tala Zeitawi, a passionate documentary photographer and filmmaker from Palestine, sheds light on neglected human rights in marginalized communities. Her poignant documentary “The Memory Keeper” follows the remarkable journey of her German grandmother and Palestinian grandfather, exploring their enduring love, courageous acts during the Intifada (the Uprising), particularly as a foreigner, and escape to Germany amid the 1967 war. Through compelling narratives, the film captures their unwavering resilience and profound emotions, while shedding light on themes of colonialism and Orientalism.