Kilmainham Gaol opens its doors to performance artists

Free event is part of the Arts Council Easter Rising centenary programme

Kilmainham Gaol opened its doors this morning to 16 artists who will use the jail as a performance space for the day. Video: Ronan McGreevy

 

Kilmainham Gaol has opened its doors to the public as a performance space.

The picturesque setting of the East Wing of the jail resonated to the anguished howls of the performance artist Dr Katherine Nolan who symbolised the sufferings of women through Ireland’s national struggle.

Dr Nolan said her performance looked at the jail as a place of trauma and loss and confronted the “romanticisation of women’s sadness.”

Beside her the Kilkenny artist Helen Walsh resposed on the landing wing of the jail underneath an arch of flowers. Her performance was inspired by the women of the Rising.

In Parnell’s Yard, which is named after one of the jail’s most famous inmates Charles Stewart Parnell, Alastair MacLennan shuffled around dragging some shoes after him.

His performance entitled Gale a Gael has props including a sack of potatos, an upturned chair and a jumper stuffed with leaves.

Future Histories, which will run from 10am to 10pm, features 16 artists. Curator Áine Phillips said the goal of Future Histories is to “question and investigate the meanings of the 1916 Rising in the light of contemporary understandings - without trying to produce contemporary understandings or resolutions”.

Future Histories is part of the Arts Council’s Art: 2016 project to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising.

It is supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht through its Ireland 2016 programme.