Vicki Clough Curates

Musings on art and life.

Proud to be Irish(ish)

This weekend Ireland made history by being the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage by popular vote (as you may already know). The run up to polling day saw a frustrating debate between campaigners from the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ sides as some of the facts surrounding the referendum were muddied by religious groups and the argument that the nuclear family is the only ‘right’ kind of family. This isn’t surprising, given that Ireland is predominantly Catholic. But over 1.2 million people voted in favour of the change, indicating that maybe, just maybe the religious strangle-hold that the church has on policy is starting to slip a bit. Stagnant notions around the policing of bodies in Ireland always seems to hold sway and has stood in the way of other changes to the constitution, particularly with regards to women’s rights and abortion, for which the country has had no less than 5 national referendums in the last 30 years (thanks Wikipedia). I’m not going to hijack this post to talk about that right now though… Obviously this is a giant leap in a new direction for the country, as some antiquated ideas of marriage and equal rights are starting to give way to a more liberal and inclusive society. Fair play to anyone who is #hungoverforequality today. You bring a whole new level to the meaning of pride.

 

The Castle, Joe Caslin, Craughwell, Co. Galway, 2015. Photo by David Sexton

The Castle, Joe Caslin, Craughwell, Co. Galway, 2015. Image credit David Sexton

The Claddagh Embrace, Joe Caslin, St George Street, Dublin, 2015. Image credit Joe Caslin

The Claddagh Embrace, Joe Caslin, St George Street, Dublin, 2015. Image credit Joe Caslin

Joe Caslin is an illustrator and street artist who teaches art at secondary school and holds a Department Head position at Tullamore College, Co. Offaly. Joe supported the ‘yes’ campaign with two stunning street art installations depicting same-sex couples embracing. The first was pasted on the side of a building on St. George Street in Dublin and the second on the side of a castle near Craughwell in Co. Galway (this image makes me homesick). You can have a look at more of Joe’s work on his website, including images for his project on negative male stereotypes in Ireland called Our Nations Sons. 

Yes Equality, Shane O'Connor, 2015

Yes Equality, Shane O’Connor, 2015

Love and let Love, shane O'Connor, 2015

Love and let Love, shane O’Connor, 2015

I have featured the work of Shane O’Connor (Sketchy Inc.) before. Shane is also an illustrator and artist who lives in Dublin. His work for the referendum included a poster that he designed for the ‘yes’ side (much nicer than the ‘no’ campaign posters) and a piece he has called on Instagram Love and let Love. This lovely image shows friends of his who have recently gotten married. You can check out more of his work in Instagram, Facebook and on his website.

Thank you to Joe and Shane for their permissions and their inspiring work.

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Vicki Clough

Vicki Clough

Vicki is an independent curator and craftsperson with a focus on socially engaged and participatory art and events. In January 2016 she helped launch Reconstructing Resilience, an ongoing research and curatorial project that aims to address the various forms of sustainable practice. She has been the Curatorial Director of Figment Toronto since 2014 and has also co-curated exhibitions including Move to Stillness, for the Harbourfront Centre's Kick Up Your Heels Festival (2015), The Duel, AGO First Thursdays (2014) and What Are You Made Of? OCAD U Graduate Gallery (2013). She initiated the Toronto based workshop model and website Polymers in Action: Socially Engaged Art and the Environment as part of her studies at OCAD University, where she obtained her Master of Fine Arts degree in Criticism and Curatorial Practice. She publishes on anything that interests her deeply and moves her to the point of lengthy verbal expression.

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