Recent student Testimonials
Doris Salcedo Artist/Student Haptic Experience
Sculpture and Combined Media, Limerick School of Art and Design in association with the
Irish Museum of Modern Art
Michelle Hickey, SCM Yr 2.
10th April, 2019 11-12 noon.
Doris Salcedo is one of the world’s most highly esteemed and widely recognized Latin American visual artists and she was coming to Ireland for the first time to exhibit her work “Acts of Mourning” at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Doris agreed to engage in a discussion about aspects of her practice with a small group of students from various art colleges around Ireland during the installation and before it opened.
The highlight of my two years in art school thus far was getting selected as one of this small group of students. I was extremely proud to be thought of by my Tutor’s and to be given the opportunity to represent my discipline and my college. To be a part of this wonderful event was very encouraging and gave me a great deal of confidence.
Doris’s work gives form to pain, trauma and loss in politically troubled Colombia and she has spent most of her artistic career spanning over thirty years dedicated to successfully highlighting to the world the difficult situation in her own country predominantly. She uses commonplace items such as wood, concrete and textiles to name but a few in her works to convey specific meanings. With this brilliance in mind I was compelled to learn more about fallen women in Ireland and made a decision in second year to select this difficult subject matter for inspiration such as barbarities carried out by Church, State and social practice on un-married women and their children in my own country of Ireland dating back to the Irish Civil War. History has a way of repeating itself and as a student artist I intended to educate myself more by using my creative ability to perhaps learn how to highlight events like this and to learn how to help abate it from ever occurring again. It was sometimes challenging for me as I did encounter some concerns from my Tutors. I completely understood where they were coming from, they were concerned for my well-being and perhaps others. However, I felt very strongly about this matter and Doris Salcedo’s sophistication within her research and designs were hugely inspiring to me which gave me the confidence to proceed. I was content about my decision to continue because had I not, I wonder would I have got this chance to meet this incredible human being at one of Ireland’s most historical sites where the Irish Museum of Modern Art now resides.
The level of organisation for this discussion was phenomenal and superbly organised. IMMA requested the questions beforehand for the artist to study as we only had one hour. I was very lucky because she answered my first question in a previous response, and she gave the answer I wanted to hear, I was delighted. She said she maintains files on events which occur around the world that interest her which lead her to the Tuam scandal as she approached the subject of babies found in a septic tank in Ireland, my heart literally skipped a beat! I could not believe she was aware of Tuam; I was amazed. This encouraged me to ask my first question on the next possible chance I got, and I took it as not everyone got to ask their questions. I was blown away with her response and delighted I had recorded the full discussion on my phone as it would have been impossible to remember everything she said. She has a subtleness to her voice and an in-depth knowledge of all her subjects so the opportunity to get an insight into a world-renowned artists mind was astonishing and a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience. It has left a huge impression on me and I know the benefits gained will be invaluable to me in the future. Not only was it a wonderful experience but a highly educational one and I am very fortunate to have got it.
World renowned visual artist and sculptor Doris Salcedo pictured with fifteen students selected from art colleges in Ireland at IMMA recently. Included are three students representing Sculpture and Combined Media from the Limerick School of Art and Design: Michelle Hickey, far left, 2nd yr., Theo Radcliffe 7th from right, 3rd yr. and Niamh Smith, 2nd from right, 4th yr.
Question 1: Identifying Ireland with Colombia sharing a historical experience through foreign occupation and civil war you mentioned in your conversation with Carlos Basualdo that “you had to come to terms with being a foreigner studying in New York and when you returned to Colombia you continued to live like an outsider because this gave you the distance that one needs to be critical of the society to which one belongs”. Can I ask you how you lived like an outsider in your own country?
Question 2: What advice do you give to a student who may meet with some resistance from their tutors by choosing difficult political subject matter such as church and state criticisms for inspiration in their studio practice?
Our experience at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019
‘May you live in interesting times’, was the title and brief for 89 participants/ pavilions from all over the world that explored through all forms of art making the challenges we are facing today.
When we arrived, the choices were immense; from guided tours, to workshops, to evening sessions or the individual stroll through the 2 main venues: Gardini and Arsenale and/or numerous little galleries, strewn all over the stunning city of Venice.
We saw installations addressing our climate crisis, video’s on political issues, captivating dance classes on gender equality, the water of melting ice bergs in glass-sculptures, melodramatic infernos, tragedy in form of a shipwrecks, to name a few. But always, when all seemed lost, little slivers of hope shining through. Acrobats, musicians, dancers, robotic machines, paintings, prints, photography, fishing nets, gigantic wood carvings and microscopic bacteria formations.
To store all those impressions and images, we collected brochures, used our mobile phones, until the batteries run empty, took photographs the analogue way, and tried to store it all in our mental library whatever capacity was available- until the doors of the venues closed at six.
Everybody had their own favourites. Nobody left empty headed/handed. The occasional que, e.g. at the Lithuanian Pavilion, this year’s winner of the Biennale, with their opera performance ‘Sun and Sea’ ( Marina), that impressed through an multi sensual experience, rewarded for the long wait.
When night set in, we did indulge in local specialities, ate and drank and sung. And after a stunning fare with the Vaporetto through the Venice canals, fell into bed, with a smile on our faces, in merry expectation for the coming day.