When people die, we frantically try to hold onto them in any way we can, we try to collect objects, memories and places but these all falter. Memories fade as if grasping someone who is a dream.
This is the twenty-year anniversary of Brigid’s brother’s death and this body of work acts dually as a memorial to him but also importantly it acts as an instigator for people to open conversations about their own experiences of grief.
The twenty-one cyanotype prints, one for each year of life, are life size ranging from a wristwatch to a motorcycle, a collection of belongings that the artist’s late brother owned. The artist’s family have held onto each item as if it were a part of him. The objects include the motorbike helmet and clothes he wore the night he crashed, now printed in the process of cyanotype; they act as an archive of his life. The process of cyanotype has accomplished a certain sensibility that articulates what cannot be spoken.
The series of light sculptures explore what alternative shrines could look like. Assembled from recycled motorcycle indicators, when installed the work becomes an immersive experience where the viewer is plunged into a darkened space of contemplation. A Chandelier of motorcycle indicators flash sporadically giving a gentle warning sign. A motorcycle tank drilled with tiny holes is flooded with light. A wing shaped arrangement of indicators flash intensely signifying mammoth loss. The large light installation is made up of three large boxes with the body print of a fallen man subtly printed on the glass.
“I am compelled to create work that investigates my perspective of loss in the greater context of how Irish society deals with grief. Having experienced the loss of my brother due to a motorbike accident when I was just sixteen, I felt there was a lack of understanding around communicating grief. The work is an exploration of the beauty within pain and the material is interchangeable chosen to reciprocate the intent. It is vital that the work opens up spaces for meaningful conversations the benefit of exhibiting this work in Fort Dunree would be the opportunity to engage with new audiences while opening a conversation about how we experience grief. It is important to bring non art communities like the Irish bikers into the art gallery and engage with the people of Donegal who have also experienced high levels of loss due to road traffic accidents. Through the guise of art making we can safely explore our previously unshared perspective on grief.”
About the artist
In 2018 Mulligan gained a Masters-in-creative Practice from CCAM Galway. Mulligan received a First Class Honours Degree in Fine Art Sculpture from CCAM Galway, in 2009. Her work has been exhibited in group shows in various Museums and Galleries nationwide which include ‘Bring the mind home’, Artlink’s members show, ‘Westival’, Westport Arts festival, ‘In Situ’, 126 Gallery Galway, ‘M:A 18’, Connacht Tribune Gallery, ‘Impressions’ Galway International Arts Festival & ‘Put a lid on it’ Galway Arts Centre. An orbital member of Engage Studio’s Galway since 2019, in collaboration with Sample studios Cork ‘Chandelier’ 2018 was selected and virtually exhibited in Cahoots: The Space Between 2020.
Awards include Create pilot mentorship award 2022, the Project Realization Award, Artist in the Community from Create & the arts Council IRE Artist in the community, R&D award with mentoring from Create IRE & the Arts Council, Agility Award from the Arts Council & Artist Support Scheme, Galway County Council 2021. Professional Development Award from the Arts Council Ireland 2020, RHA Foundation in drawing scholarship 2020/21, residency in 126 Gallery Galway and Galway city Council’s Tyrone Guthrie Bursary 2019. Cill Rialaig, Ballinaskelligs, Kerry and Creative Spark Dundalk & a virtual residency with Digital Art Studios Belfast 2021/22.