Turf Wall 2021
"Frontier Work" was an exhibition funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, exploring the concept and reality of borders, and most especially the Northern Ireland border in its centenary year. The four person show was curated by Garrett Carr and exhibited at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny in January 2022.
My constructed sculpture, "Turf Wall 2021”, captures images of and reflections upon the Northern Ireland border in the centenary year, 2021. The sculpture was accompanied with selected photographic images which highlighted some of the recurrent themes I had noted while journeying along the border.
Across the summer of 2021 I travelled the Northern Ireland border from Warrenpoint to Lough Foyle, taking photographs of what I saw, where the roads crossed the border. There are points where I was confronted by a vivid, notional reality of a border, current political narratives, and then points where there was nothing but open countryside. I transferred these images (and the associated ideas), using photo decals, onto Bord na Mona peat briquette ‘bricks’ - literally made from Irish land - to build my gathered perceptions of the Northern Ireland border into a physical 'wall'. There are some points where the wall is higher than others, at others there are gaps, spaces to look through to the other side. One side of the wall carries images from Northern Ireland and the other from Ireland. Walking around this sculpture, journeying down the border, you can consider images of the reality of a barrier created out of the land, the political implications that are resonating to this day, and what it means to the people who live along it - sometimes it's everything, sometimes it's nothing. All the images have been taken in 2021, creating a visual record of the border exactly 100 years since its inception in 1921.