Images from Anthony Haughey (c) & RTE
At 1 pm on Sunday, the 5th of December 2021 artist Anthony Haughey and the Inishowen community gathered at Fort Dunree to produce an 'artist intervention', the first part of an ambitious 'social sculpture' that will involve hundreds of participants. Below, Anthony introduces the project.
Anthem is the outcome of my 2021 Artlink residency co-created with residents living near Fort Dunree, Buncrana, and Drumfries. This event marks the centenary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty on the 6th of December 1921, at that time Ireland was defined in terms of Nationalist/Unionist cultural identities. Today Ireland is a more culturally diverse society. This artwork questions what national identity means in twenty-first-century Ireland.
Anthony Haughey is an artist and a lecturer in TU Dublin.
Visual Artists Ireland is the Representative body for professional visual artists in Ireland. VAI research has identified: Isolation; a Need for Support; and a Need for Information as the three primary areas of concern for visual artists.
Each of these impact areas are directly referenced by a range of services which are clearly directed towards our vision statement “We dare to dream of a time when artists will live in a world of opportunities.” Through the delivery of Networking, Support, and Information services, we allow individual artists and artist groups to develop their careers, develop a capacity to take advantage of the opportunities, and to share knowledge. We do this through: Advocacy; Advice; Membership Services; Lifelong Learning; and Information Provision.
The Artists' Campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment was set up in 2015 by visual artists Cecily Brennan, Alice Maher, Eithne Jordan, and the poet Paula Meehan. It began as an online campaign appealing to fellow artists, writers, musicians, and actors to put their names to a statement calling for a repeal of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland (Article 40.3.3). The campaign group aimed to promote national and international awareness of the restrictive reproductive laws of Ireland and to encourage and inspire other groups and activists to use cultural means to promote social change.
The group went on to have a large presence at various demonstration marches including March for Choice (2016 & 2017), Strike for Repeal (2017), and International Women's Day (2018). Exhibitions and events included Day of Testimonies (2017) held at Project Arts Centre, Art and Action (2017) held at NCAD Gallery, EVA International Biennial (2018) held in Limerick, various Shred It events (2017-2018), 20 Seconds for Yes (2018) and Witness (2018).
Banners formed a central part of the visual work of the campaign.
The National College of Art and Design teamed up with Dublin City Council for a flag campaign titled 'Designing for the Pandemic' in 2020.
Students at NCAD designed special flags that have been erected all along the Quays. The aim of the campaign is to create striking imagery along our quayside, while also giving messages of alertness about Covid-19. The flags aim to show several different components of the Covid-19 etiquette that has pervaded every aspect of our lives, from hand-washing to social distancing and everything in between.
Lord Mayor Hazel Chu hailed the innovative process of conveying a message in an engaging manner.
"I think people are very tired of hearing about restrictions and safety guidelines just by text or news or social media. "When they see something a bit more creative they may think of absorbing it better."
The project saw third year NCAD students designing the 2x2 metre flags. Head of the Department of Communications Design at NCAD, John Paul Dowling, said the flags weren't just about informing people on the dangers of Covid-19.
"The real focus of the flags was about instilling that these are the rules that we need to follow and to make sure that everyone is safe.
"But they're all giving a message of hope.
"A lot of the flags were reinforcing that if we go through this time that's difficult now and we all work together, that there is a brighter future ahead."