An exhibition based on a collaborative project between the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Focus Ireland opens to the public at IMMA on Thursday 2 November 2006. Entitled Hearth: Concepts of Home from the IMMA Collection in collaboration with Focus Ireland, it is being shown to mark the 21st anniversary of Focus Ireland, a national voluntary organisation working to prevent, alleviate and eliminate homelessness. The exhibition aims to create an awareness of the meaning of home in contemporary Ireland. It has emerged as a result of an access programme run by IMMA’s Education and Community and Collection Departments.
Focus Ireland was founded in 1985 by Sr Stanislaus Kennedy in response to research into the needs of homeless women in Dublin. Through listening to the experiences of the women, the research team realised the importance of involving people who were experiencing or had experienced homelessness, in the development of services for people out-of-home. Initially, Focus Ireland provided street services to young people, advice, advocacy, information, help with finding a home and a place to meet and have a meal. Since then, Focus Ireland has continued to expand its services opening low rent, quality housing developments and service projects in Dublin as well as housing developments in both Limerick and Waterford.
Comprising 16 works, Hearth represents a variety of works ranging from Power Cuts Imminent by Tim Mara, in which the artist depicts the normal scenario of a family home in the 1980s but disrupts the scene to include an insert of his time at art-college, to Hereafter a recent work by Paddy Jolley created when, in 2002, Jolley was commissioned to make a film in Ballymun, Dublin, - an area targeted for radical social and economic change. As part of this plan, residents were requested to move from flats in tower blocks, which in many cases were their lifetime dwellings, to new contemporary houses. Jolley focused on the newly vacated flats - and the physical items left behind.
Other works include Property by Beat Klein and Hendrijke Kuhne, a response to the property boom in Ireland in the late 1990s. Cut from estate agents advertisements in The Irish Times over a period of months in 1998, at the height of the property boom in Dublin, these flimsy houses of card illustrate the fragility of those dreams of wealth, while How to make a refugee by Phil Collins’ is the story of a family caught up in a very different reality, the dispossessed who are forced to find new homes and a sense of identity as a result of war.
Commenting on the exhibition Helen O’Donoghue, Senior Curator: Education and Community Programmes, IMMA said, “The collaborative process of working between IMMA and Focus Ireland aims to engage people with contemporary art and artists. Through sharing and exchanging skills and knowledge of the curatorial process it aims to demystify and reveal the often hidden process of exhibition planning and realisation, opening out the meaning of public access into the resources of a museum in general and IMMA in particular”.
Declan Jones, Chief Executive of Focus Ireland said, “Focus Ireland’s vision is that ‘everyone has a right to a place they can call home’. Hearth provides a unique opportunity to explore this vision and to reflect on what home means in contemporary Ireland. The historical experience of Ireland as a place of mass emigration and our more recent experience as a country of migration means many of our community have an acute understanding of home as more than a place of shelter, but as a sense of belonging, of knowing and being known, of connecting – and not just belonging to a homestead but to a wider place, a community, a culture. We hope that through this exhibition the need and concept of home are presented to the public in an innovative and unique way that will contribute to the awareness and advocacy objectives of Focus Ireland.”
The works included in the exhibition have been selected by a process of consultation between Helen O’Donoghue, Senior Curator: Education and Community Programmes, IMMA, Catherine Marshall, Senior Curator: Head of Collections, IMMA and the customers and staff of Focus Ireland.
A catalogue, sponsored by Red Dog Design Consultants, accompanies the exhibition.
Hearth continues until 1 April 2007.
Admission is free.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am - 5.30pm except Wednesday 10.30am - 5.30pm Sundays and Bank Holidays 12 noon - 5.30pm Mondays and 24 – 26 December Closed
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