Now, while Concerning the Other is continuing at the Olivier Cornet Gallery, we are already working on the next phase because we’ve been invited to present the project in Belfast next Spring, in the Queen Street Studios Gallery.
So on a trip North lately, I passed through MacBride Railway Station in Drogheda and it brought back memories of another show I’d been involved in some years ago.
That was a Tondo exhibition. Tondo was a group of artists who believed in exhibiting their work in alternative spaces, outside the gallery context. We had shows in a lighthouse, a library, a park, a laneway and even a small crate… but we also showed in the National Gallery of Ireland.
But during the summer of 2010, we had a show in MacBride Railway Station. It’s a quiet place most of the time but then, every once in a while, a train approaches and the whole atmosphere changes. Suddenly the place is bustling, passengers stepping off the train, friends and family greeting each other, suitcases, tickets, porters… and at the same time there are others getting onto the train, tearful goodbyes, the green flag, the whistle blows and the train pulls out and silence returns.
So many stories… Sometimes we wait to begin a journey, sometimes we wait for a loved one to arrive. Maybe we wait in hope or maybe we wait in fear. Maybe we wait for someone who will never come. Waiting on the platform, one can only imagine all the people who passed this way before.
This station was built in 1844, just before the Great Famine in Ireland. How many people passed through here, hoping to escape to a better life in the New World? How many died in transit? My work was intended to commemorate all of those people who, for one reason or another, never came home.
I had two pieces in this exhibition – a small installation entitled : “Ghlaoigh mé arís ach freagra ní bhfuaireas…” (I called again but no one answered), and another entitled: “Ghosts”, a series of 30 screenprinted images, fixed to the windows of the old waiting room.