The Museum of August Destiny
17 July - 4 September 2016.
Aideen Barry, Mark Clare, Amanda Coogan, Anthony Haughey, Dragana Jurisic and Sarah Pierce
Lismore Castle Arts: St Carthage Hall
Location: Chapel Street, Lismore (behind Heritage Centre)
Lismore Castle Arts is delighted to announce our next exhibition at St Carthage Hall will be The Museum of August Destiny. Curated by Dr Emily Mark-FitzGerald, this exhibition features six artists born or working in Ireland and explores the resonance of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, a century after it was written.
The 1916 Proclamation occupies an imposing and iconic place in the national imagination – both as material document of history, and as a visionary (and militant) declaration of Irish sovereignty. It remains unauthored – signed collectively by teachers, writers, poets and a musician, but with no single individual named as creator. It is a cheaply printed physical document with makeshift typographic solutions, but now commands stratospheric prices at auction. It is a call to power, and invested with an imagined national destiny – yet it is a manifesto that anticipated an immediate consequence of creation wrought through destruction.
This exhibition engages with how the Proclamation embodies both individuality and collectivity; the paradox of its humble materiality and enormous symbolic value; and its association with both aspiration and failure. How might its status as revered national object be translated into something that is instead intimate, personal, and tangible? The exhibition proposes an alternative means of making 1916 again manifest, by creating a ‘capsule’ museum responding to the final line of the 1916 Proclamation:
In this supreme hour the Irish nation must by its valour and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worth of the august destiny to which it is called.
The Museum of August Destiny has commissioned six contemporary artists to respond to one of six ‘visions’ of Irish destiny set out in the Proclamation: (1) sovereignty and ‘unfettered control of Irish destinies’; (2) religious and civil liberty; (3) equal rights and opportunities for citizens; (4) the pursuit of happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all of its parts; (5) cherishing the children of the nation; and (6) oblivion of the differences ‘which have divided a minority from the majority in the past’.
Housed within museum cases on loan from the Pearse Museum at St. Enda’s, Rathfarnham, the six artworks present individual meditations (utilizing sounds/objects/images) on the realization or retreat from our ‘august destiny’. A seventh case will host rotating contributions from the residents of Lismore and its surrounds: making visible a range of political, personal, conceptual, utopian, critical, and condemnatory responses.
In re-scaling and re-configuring the vision of 1916 in contemporary terms, The Museum of August Destiny invites reflection on the real and imagined distance traversed over the past century; on the act of commemoration itself and its industries; and declares its own vision of a past aimed at future publics.
There is a seventh case in the exhibition within which visitors are invited to propose responses to the Proclamation. These responses can be simple or elaborate - from a handwritten note to detailed artworks - however visitors feel inspired to respond. The responses will rotate on a weekly basis. Please get in touch with Paul McAree at Lismore Castle Arts for further information - 058 54061.
St Carthage Hall is open Fridays to Sundays, 1 - 6pm
Mark Clare, Harder Better Faster Stronger, flag, 2016
Dragana Jurisic, Jessie, 2016