On the occasion of NEST, Draíocht's major multidisciplinary festival of new works in performance and visual art, You, Me, Us investigates identity and self-representation through photography and collage, created and facilitated by photographer Liadh Connolly.
Artistic Director of NEST Veronica Coburn facilitated hundreds of workshops with children during 2023, collating a large collection of drawings and thoughts about life in Dublin 15 as she travelled from school to school. During January and February, photographer Liadh Connolly revisited some of these classrooms to explore concepts of identity and self-representation through photography. Working alongside Liadh, students experienced a professional photoshoot setting and were supported by her to express their own individuality through poses and movements.
The resulting exhibition of colour photographs, directed and captured both by the students themselves, and their classmates are nested on a black and white collaged wallpapering, created from the original preparatory words, thoughts and ideas from Veronica's workshops, sessions that were part of the process that led to the Spréacha Soar Festival for Children & Young People in March.
On Saturday 17th February, two complementary NEST exhibitions will open to the public:
In the Ground Floor Gallery, a newly commissioned series of portraits and still life's from leading visual artists Zsolt Basti, Sahoko Blake, Una Sealy RHA & Dorothy Smith RHA, featuring the children and young people participating in NEST, Curated by Sharon Murphy.
In the First Floor Gallery, a photographic and text exhibition featuring portraiture and testimonials made by children and young people from Dublin 15 schools participating in NEST. Created and led by artist Liadh Connolly.
"It has been such a joy to work on the NEST project with Draíocht, Blanchardstown. I really enjoyed collaborating with the beautiful individuals of Dublin 15, working together to create a visual representation of young people in this area through portraiture. Working on this project over the last 8 weeks reminded me of some of the most important things in life - happiness, security, self-expression and to have fun. It was a very fun project and I hope it has been an experience that these individuals can carry through life with them." - Liadh Connolly
Liadh Connolly is a visual artist born and based in Dublin, Ireland. After graduating with a first class honours degree in Photography from the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dún Laoghaire in 2016, she spent a year in New York which hugely influenced her photographic practice - its people and streetscapes becoming a huge inspiration to her work. Upon her return she discovered a similar connection with Dublin’s streets and people which became both a driving force and an ongoing backdrop behind much of her images.
Working both artistically and commercially, you will find portraiture, fine art, editorial, fashion and documentary style image-making at the forefront of her practice. Liadh’s passion lies with meeting new people and exploring their stories and personalities through photography.
In 2021, she worked with designer Zoe Redmond on a project entitled ‘Lady of the Northside’. This led to the pair receiving an Agility Award from the Arts Council and funding for a further project on which they are currently working, through textile design and photography.
More recently, she has carried out a number of residencies through the Teacher and Artist Partnership and BLAST initiatives, in primary and secondary schools across Dublin and Wicklow which has brought a refreshing new approach to her practice. This work includes collage, image making and studio portraiture. Working with young people of the Dublin 15 area for the NEST project has been an amazing, eye-opening experience and has reinforced her strong belief of how important visual art is for students in education.
Her images have been published by Image magazine, Totally Dublin and The Irish Times, among others. You can find her full portfolio at liadhc.com and Instagram @liadhc.
NEST is based on HOME THEATRE, an original idea by Marcus Vinicius Faustini (Brazil) and Kerry Kyriacos Michael (UK). Draíocht’s iteration, HOME THEATRE (Ireland), took place in 2018.
NEST is funded by ART: 2023, a Decade of Centenaries Collaboration between The Arts Council and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
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