The artist’s methodology is grounded in her interest in issues of social and political change and this body of work stems from her time as artist in residence at The Maze and Long Kesh Prison from 1998.
Dunsmore’s exhibition includes silent, 20-minute video portraits of key political figures involved in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, providing unique new perspectives on familiar, high-profile figures. These include John Hume and David Trimble, who were jointly awarded The Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 "for their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland", and whose portraits will be exhibited for the first time at The Hugh Lane.
Alongside these portraits will be works acknowledging the role of Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown who founded the Peace People, a cross-community grassroots movement of citizens dedicated to ending the sectarian strife in Northern Ireland. Maguire and Williams shared the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize.
Other works in Keeper expand this theme of portraiture and its role in social and political life and further reflect on the formal and informal processes through which memory and history are made. These include Billy's Museum (2004), a filmed record of a collection of items relating to various individuals, incidents and occurrences made by Prison Officer Billy Hull in HM Prison Maze. A new artwork entitled The People's Portraits 1899-1918will also be shown. It comprises 100 printed portraits taken from late nineteenth and early twentieth century glass plate negative prison photographs.
Amanda Dunsmore works in art processes that explore representations of societal transformation through contextual portraiture and social historic projects. Over the past 25 years she has exhibited widely in Ireland and internationally and her artworks can be found in private and public collections.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring essays by Senator George Mitchell, Amanda Dunsmore, Fionna Barber and Cillian McGrattan.