Shiftings is a group exhibition that explores the untold stories of Ireland’s colonial past, bringing forgotten histories, contested legacies, and silenced memories to the fore.
With artefacts laid buried; communities never remembered and stories gone untold, can people trust that the past is truly knowable at all? Through the act of digging up the past and speculating what could have been, we may unearth knowledge that reveals a collective cultural memory seen anew through queer, feminist, and decolonial perspectives.
Covid-19 has disrupted the perceptual world as a place of familiarity to that of a foreign landscape. People still see the world in terms of its old familiarity, but it is at the same time alienating as we are no longer able to interact with it in the habitual, effortless manner characteristic of the pre-pandemic world we inhabited. The reorienting of self in space and the shifting of perception that has occurred as a result of the pandemic and the resulting safety precautions and restrictions has irrevocably altered our phenomenology of perception. People now see the world through a tilted perspective, but what do we make of it?
Shiftings is the first installment in a three-part curatorial project that explores the shifting of perspectives in three chapters: Past, Present, and Future. Positioning othered voices to the fore and providing new lenses with which to view our world, each exhibition will focus on an artist or artists whose work teases out alternative histories, hidden narratives, and speculative futures.
Participating artists are Kian Benson Bailes, Ailbhe Ní Bhriain, Ursula Burke, Ruth Clinton, Maeve Coulter, Niamh Moriarty and Katharine West.
This exhibition is part of Kilkenny County Council Arts Office’s ‘Emerging Curator in Residence Programme’ and is enabling Aoife Banks to gain direct experience in the field of curating exhibitions for the Arts Office in Kilkenny.
Shiftings has been curated and designed to be viewed through the gallery windows and online. This exhibition sees work being exhibited in multiple locations; 76-77 John Street Lower, County Council Offices windows, online at kilkennyartsoffice.ie and @kilkennyartsoffice. A podcast will be launched in August which will platform conversation between the curator and exhibiting artists about the exhibition, the artworks and how they respond to the current cultural moment.
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