Over the past few years, a programme of special commemorative events has taken place to mark the centenary of key historical events in Irish history. The Decade of Centenaries was initiated in 2012, with a focus on the many significant centenaries occurring over the period 2012–2023. The Centenaries Programme complements the ongoing programme of annual State commemorations with special commemorative events on the centenary of key historical events.
The aim of the State centenary commemoration programme for the years from 2021 – 2023 is to ensure that this complex period in our history, including the Struggle for Independence, the Civil War, the Foundation of the State and Partition, is remembered appropriately, proportionately, respectfully and with sensitivity. A specific key objective of the initiative is to promote a deeper understanding of the significant events that took place during this period and recognise that the shared historical experience of those years gave rise to very different narratives and memories.
Artist in Residence at the Jackie Clarke Collection
To commemorate the Decade of the Centenaries, Mayo County Council Arts Service, in partnership with the Jackie Clarke Collection, invited submissions for a special artists residency working with artefacts in the Jackie Clarke Collection relating to the following events of this period in Irish history; Irish War of Independence, Truce, and Civil War.
The aim of this commission is to enable the artist to research and develop new work sensitive to the historical context of the period, in response to the Decade of Centenaries commemoration programme by working with the Jackie Clarke Collection over a period of six months, offering an opportunity to highlight the unique, nationally significant resource that the Jackie Clarke Collection represents.
Mayo County Council’s Arts Service, is delighted to announce that Achill born Margo McNulty, is the worthy recipient of the prestigious Decade of Centenaries Artist Residency. The residency is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Community Strand of the Decade of Centenaries Programme.
Margo’s commission, entitled, Keepsakes, will involve uncovering examples of ‘personal objects’, mementoes or stories relating to the period of the War of Independence, the Treaty, and Civil War. The artist is hoping to stimulate interest and involvement of local people, families and communities in the county or the Mayo diaspora living abroad who have been the beneficiaries of these mementos.
McNulty says: “I am interested in finding examples of ‘keepsakes’ or objects handed down to family members, which have particular meaning, memories or stories attached to them that talk to this turbulent period at a local and family level. She says: “I am hopeful that the project may promote a deeper understanding of the impact of the events that took place over 100 years ago on Mayo people and families”.
McNulty says: “Family keepsakes, in the form of tangible objects, are the containers of the lived first-hand experiences of Mayo people during this turbulent period. These material objects often reveal the interweaving of personal and public histories and can unlock memory and meaning. Individuals and families are the keepers and custodians of that lived experience, which are sometimes embodied in these keepsakes.”
McNulty is confident of finding families or individuals who have handed down these keepsakes because of their special meaning. She is also looking forward to the outcome of collaboration between the Jackie Clarke Collection Artist in Residence programme and historical societies throughout the county in an effort to locate local examples of keepsakes. She adds: “Some of the keepsakes may be military artefacts while others may be more personal keepsakes related to the same period of turbulence”.
The residency will culminate with a publicly accessible artwork in November 2021.
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