Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger

20 Jul 2018 – 13 Oct 2018

Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre

County Cork, Ireland


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Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger is an exhibition of artwork from Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, USA (IGHM), which has the largest collection of Great Hunger-related art in the world.


Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger will be shown in three locations in Ireland only - at Dublin Castle (March -June 2018), at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen from 20 July to 13 October 2018 and finally at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, Derry (January-March 2019).

This unique opportunity to have the exhibition in Skibbereen was made possible by having a suitable venue - Uillinn - to accommodate and showcase the artworks to the highest standard.

The exhibition of artworks at Uillinn, including work by major Irish and Irish American artists of the past 170 years such as Daniel Macdonald, Paul Henry, Jack B. Yeats, William Crozier, Hughie O'Donoghue, Dorothy Cross and Alanna O'Kelly, will be accompanied by a rich and diverse programme of performances, talks, lectures and events at Uillinn, and off-site in other locations in West Cork. These will resonate with the history and legacy of the Great Hunger and also amplify the contemporary themes explored in the exhibition. The themes include famine, the politics of food, poverty, displacement of peoples, refugees, emigration, identity, memory and loss.

The programme includes a west Cork-wide Schools Programme; a series of Artists' Residencies in association with the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork and University College Cork; a series of lectures and seminars in partnership with UCC and IGHM; a unique Performance Event by acclaimed Irish artist Alanna O'Kelly for Schull Workhouse Anáil na Beatha, bookings here; and an Arts for Health project with artist Toma McCullim, celebrating the legacy of the 110 Skibbereen girls who emigrated to Australia after the Famine.

Several of the local festivals including Skibbereen Arts Festival, West Cork History Festival, West Cork Literary Festival and A Taste of West Cork are also getting involved and putting famine related events into their programmes this summer and autumn. The exhibition has caught the imagination of our local communities, festivals and individual artists and will be a major event for Skibbereen and West Cork.

This is an unique opportunity for the people of Cork and visitors to the region alike to experience this art collection in Skibbereen, described as 'ground zero' of the Great Irish Famine. The exhibition of artworks at Uillinn will be further amplified and contextualised by the ‘Skibbereen Famine Story’ exhibition at Skibbereen Heritage Centre, where an historical exhibit from Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum will also be on display.

Skibbereen Heritage Centre’s ‘Famine Story’ exhibition will provide the historical context to the visiting art exhibition. Skibbereen is the most important and significant town in Ireland in terms of its Famine heritage and many of the buildings and streets of the town have direct links to this tragic time. The ‘Famine Story’ walking trail app, leaflet and book provide the means to experience these sites and learn about the Great Hunger in the places where the events took place. Staff historians at Skibbereen Heritage Centre will offer guided tours of the Famine exhibition and the town while the Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger exhibition takes place in Skibbereen.

Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger is a major cultural, educational and tourist event worthy of local, national and international interest.

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