Illuminations is a digital-visual exhibition space in the Departments of English and Media Studies at Maynooth University. Illuminations brings together work in the visual arts and in academia, celebrating innovation, ideas and creativity.
Situated in the Iontas building, the gallery space is built around six screens, each with its own headphones. 
Illuminations aims to provide opportunities for education, investigation and enlightenment in and beyond the university and to be a place where art, writing, criticism, research and teaching co-exist. 
welcomes ideas for exhibitions and collaborations.
Visit the Illuminations web page here.

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Ceara Conway

Ceara Conway

Curated by Aoife Tunney

Ceara Conway is an independent Irish contemporary vocal and visual artist. She uses performance, song, text, and forms of visual art (photography, sculpture and video) to explore social issues such as migration, the ecological crisis and feminist concerns. Specific to her practice in an interest in the utilisation of traditional and contemporary lament to explore at how we, as individuals, communities and societies express and experience loss and grief in response to social and humanistic issues.

Ceara has shown and performed work widely internationally and in Ireland, including, the Museum of Fine Art, Florida, STABLE Gallery, Washington, the Katzen Arts Centre, Washington, the Barbican, UK, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Galway Arts Centre, and the National Gallery of Ireland.

This exhibition includes a selection of works by Conway, providing an insight into her practice over recent years.

Video Works exhibited:
Hope/Dóchas, 2019, 3 Part HD Video, min sec loop, Dóchas 1 (3min 55 sec), Dóchas 2 (4 min16sec), Dóchas 3(9min 49 sec)

Commissioned by: Waterways Ireland and Oireachtas na Gaeilge, funded by the Arts Council

Dóchas-Hope is an artwork that draws its inspiration from the historical boat journey taken by five fishermen from Carna who were sent to transport five boats from Cill Chaoill to Carna in Connemara in the 1950’s in the hope of bettering their lives.  This was the first time the five men had ever left their village and travelled such a distance. The purchase of this boats was funded by Gael Linn, a non-profit and non-governmental organisation established in 1956, focused on supporting socio economic enterprises and the promotion of the Irish language and the arts.  

Composed in the manner of a journey or pilgrimage the piece draws upon the universal themes of the journey and knowing ‘’place intimately’’ as explored by Joseph Campbell, the Odyssey and in the writing of Rebecca Solnit. Each piece explores various themes of challenge, loss, hope and fulfilment through traditional and contemporary song performed in specific locations that the five men travelled throughout Ireland.
Grief Spell, 2024, HD Video, 7 min, 06 sec loop
Commissioners: Video Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Sound piece Maynooth University
Grief Spell was inspired by the death of my father, and my desire to express that feeling of being overcome by and going through grief.  It was also inspired by reading of a Norse tradition of naming people who were grieving, or sad ‘’cinderbiters’. Members of the community unable to participate in the usual activities of ‘’normal life’’, would sit by the hearth, and over time their clothes, feet and hands would become stained by ashes. The ashes were a visual symbol to the rest of the community that they were to be left alone, to be treated more gently, during this ‘grief spell’.  Central to the work, is the universal human experience of loss.
Making Visible, 2014, Live Performance & HD Video, 18min 46 sec loop
Commissioned by CREATE, funded by the Arts Council
Shown/performed: St Nicholas Cathedral, Galway, Aula Maxima, Galway.  126 Gallery Galway, Ormston House Cultural Centre.  Clár Roisin TG4.  Irish Museum of Modern Art,
Making Visible is a socially engaged art project that aimed to highlight and make visible the current Direct Provision system in Ireland and to bring to light the suffering of asylum seekers living within this system to the public. Drawing upon the old Irish tradition of ''Caoineadh'' a vocal lament associated with mourning and the traditional role of the bean caoineadh, Ceara created and performed a series of public ritual performances that were informed by her time engaging with ''Able Women'', a group of women seeking asylum in Ireland. The performance features testimonies of the women, and performances from Noirin Ní Rian and Veronika Ncube.
Roisin, 2017, HD Video, 4min 51 sec loop
For more information on Ceara Conway’s work: