Townhall Cavan presents
An art exhibition curated by Rita Duffy and Joe Keenan
The Great Protestant Cow of Aghalee by Dermot Seymour
Townhall Gallery and Theatre Space
Thursday 10th August to Saturday 16th September 2023
Tuesday to Friday: 10am-4pm, Saturday 11am-4pm
With artists John Byrne, Rita Duffy, Patrick Hickey, Seán Hillen, Dermot Seymour, and Jennifer Trouton.
Exhibition designed by Mark St. John Ellis.
Essay by Edwin Coomasaru.
Boundary pushing ‘Border Biennale’ at Town Hall Cavan
Border Biennale, a new exhibition at Town Hall Cavan Gallery, brings together artwork by six contemporary artists which explores the impact ‘real’, or geopolitical borders have on identity and the othering and separation inherent in sectarianism, misogyny, homophobia, racism, and other forms of discrimination.
The exhibition, curated by Rita Duffy and Joe Keenan, and designed by Mark St. John Ellis, features work from Duffy herself and from Patrick Hickey, Seán Hillen, John Byrne, Dermot Seymour, and Jennifer Trouton which casts a satirical, playful, provocative, and penetrating eye over issues such as conflict, abortion rights, flags, the migrant crisis, and queer Irish identity.
In his essay which accompanies the exhibition, historian of modern and contemporary art researching gender, sexuality, and race Dr Edwin Coomasaru notes, “The exhibition at Townhall Cavan challenges the way borders structure territory and identity: creating a space to speculate on their abolition…its artworks contest the way boundaries divide the earth and its populations, using surreal aesthetics to critique contemporary systems and propose other ways of re-organising the globe.”
About the artists
- Newry-born photographer and photocollage artist Seàn Hillen was described by the Irish Times as “the most censored artist to come out of Britain or Ireland since Joyce”.
- Belfast artist John Byrne has long held a fascination with the Border and ideas of national identity, winning acclaim for his installation, ‘Border Interprative Centre’ and video ‘Would you die for Ireland?’
- Belfast born, Mayo resident Dermot Seymour is a painter whose juxtaposition of animals and everyday rural life with militaristic and tribal identities highlight the absurdity of sectarian division.
- Belfast artist Rita Duffy is one of Ireland’s groundbreaking visual artists, a member of Aosdána, whose work is held in museum and private collections worldwide. Her installation ‘Soften the Border’ located on the bridge between Blacklion, County Cavan and Belcoo, County Fermanagh, garnered international media attention at the height of Brexit tensions.
- Jennifer Trouton is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work, incorporating painting, embroidery, wallpaper, textiles and artefacts, appropriates the tropes of traditional still life painting to create contemporary representations that subtly express ideas around gender, class and identity within Irish history.
- Patrick Hickey is a contemporary queer artist, living and working in Belfast. His work explores queer Irish masculinity, identity and sexuality – including Northern Irish cultural assumptions surrounding sexual ‘species’ – through the use of the nude male figure.