Go Back
(Re) Public launch –  Chicago
Hyde Park Art Center. Image: courtesy of the Art Center.

(Re) Public launch – Chicago

Event · Exhibition

20 Oct 2016


Hyde Park Arts Center, 5020 S. Cornell Avenue Chicago, IL 60615


A collaborative arts showcase in Chicago, inspired by 2016, organised by Create the national development agency for collaborative arts as part of I Am Ireland, Culture Ireland’s International programme for 2016

Create are delighted to announce that (Re) Public the collaborative arts showcase at Hyde Park Arts Center in Chicago will open its doors to the public on 23rd October with an official launch with the Consulate of Ireland taking place at Hyde Park Arts Center on 30th October. The exhibition will be opened by Vice Consul General Ragnar Almqvist.

The exhibition (Re)Public presents the work of seven leading contemporary Irish collaborative artists in Chicago in 2016.The artists are: Seamus Nolan (Visual Arts) Dylan Tighe (Theatre/ Music) Marie Barrett/ North 55 (Visual Arts) Philippa Donnellan / CoisCéim (Dance Theatre) Sean Taylor and Mikael Fernström / Softday (Sound Art) and artist / curator Megs Morley (Film/Visual Arts). These artist’s practices engage in profound ways with different publics in exploring pressing social, political and environmental issues current in 21st century Ireland. These include hidden histories of state institutional abuse (Nolan) community identity in post conflict rural border regions (North 55), issues relating to natural cycles in time, climate change and its global effects (Softday), the individual’s struggle for autonomy within the field of mental health (Tighe) the importance of creative autonomy and independence and the right to self-expression in movement and dance (Donnellan) and strategies of resistance that include artistic intervention, self-organisation, and collectivism (Morley).


As well as the exhibition of their work, the artists will engage, connect and link with artists and communities in the Chicago area. Megs Morley will kick off the (Re)Public programme of events during her visit to Chicago with a series of film screenings. Marie Barrett, who visited Hyde Park Arts Center in September will work with the team at Hyde Park Art Center to facilitate a dialogue between Chicago-based youth groups and young people in Donegal during the run of (Re) Public. Softday, the art-science collaboration of artist Sean Taylor and computer scientist Mikael Fernström, will seek to connect with other artists and activists interested in climate change and its global effects with a view to initiating a new project which highlights the effects of pollution on the Chicago River. Seamus Nolan, whose process-based and socially collaborative art projects have engaged with a range of pressing social issues, will continue the themes on institutional abuse, initiated in his work The 10th President (2013). While in Chicago Nolan will connect with relevant advocacy groups and also launch the US leg of the campaign for 10th President. Philippa Donnellan of CoisCéim will also liaise with womens’ and community groups in Chicago continuing her work on the idea of witness. Dylan Tighe will connect with activists on mental health issues during his time in Chicago and give a public performance at the Hyde Park Art Center to mark the close of the exhibition.

(RE)PUBLIC is supported through Culture Ireland’s international culture programme entitled I Am Ireland which is part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. I Am Ireland enables Irish artists and companies to present their work across the globe. The programme, a key element of the Ireland 2016 Global and Diaspora strand, is one of celebration through contemporary arts while also reflecting on Ireland’s cultural journey over the last one hundred years. I Am Ireland marks the centrality of the arts to Irish identity, and acknowledges the key role artists play now, as they did in the 1916 Rising.

Artist Biographies

Marie Barrett is an artist and founder/director of North-55, a socially engaged visual arts organisation that engages divergent communities on civic issues on a cross-border basis, fusing cultural and aesthetic pursuits with community development processes. Incorporating an interdisciplinary approach, her work combines the transformative power of collaborative public art practice with the rigor and analysis of in-depth action research.
North-55 projects support new forms of collaboration and audience engagement and include; Testimonies of the River (2005-2007), Illuminate, (2011) and Fathom (2015).These projects were collaborative in nature and directly concerned with the border itself and often harnessed the River Foyle as a particular site of meaning. Earlier works were developed through the Sitework Programme Orchard Gallery Derry, and PS1 New York. Most recently North-55’s project Latitude has been selected under the Arts Councils, Making Great Art Work – Open Call award (2016).LATITUDE is an immersive site-specific project about identity within an era of upheaval regarding borders globally.

Philippa Donnellan trained in dance, studying Graham Technique at The Martha Graham School, New York, and Classical Ballet with Melissa Hayden – American Ballet Theater. Donnellan’s work addresses the importance of creative autonomy and independence, and the right to self-expression in movement and dance in both private and public spaces. Her work as an independent choreographer has involved creating projects with many communities large and small, as well as with professional and non-vocational companies. Philippa is the Director of BROADREACH, CoisCéim Dance Theatre’s participation and engagement programme. She is currently leading an intergenerational performance project with a group of women drawn from different communities across Dublin entitled 38 WOMEN. The project forms part of the public engagement strand of the CoisCéim Dance Theatre /ANU co-production, THESE ROOMS, which premiered at Dublin Theatre Festival on 29 September 2016.

Megs Morley is an artist and independent curator whose research-led projects are primarily concerned with critical practices that invite and provoke visibility around social and political issues. As the Curator in Residence for Galway City in 2014, she developed The Para Institution, a public research programme working in parallel to the existing institutions in the city, that examined how alternative models of organising and the actions of artists can provide new ways of re-imagining the potential role for arts institutions in the democratisation of power, debate, criticality and cultural change. Other curatorial projects include curating the solo exhibition of film artist Amie Siegel “Imitation of Life” in TBG&S Gallery Dublin, (2016) The Galway Plastik Artists Film Festival (2015) ‘A State within a State’- the Tulca Contemporary Art Festival (2011) . Morley is also the curator of The Artist-led Archive, an archive and platform of events documenting Irish artist-led initiatives and collectives from the period 1970- present, which is currently housed in the special collections of the National Irish Visual Arts Library. Her art work made in collaboration with Tom Flanagan has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally in both film and gallery contexts, most recently in IMA Brisbane (2016), EVA International Biennale (2016).

Seamus Nolan is a Dublin based artist whose practice investigates the relative value of objects and social processes as they appear within different economies and contexts. His work is concerned with power relations, energy and possibility, and he is interested in reconfiguring the everyday as a means to examine or question the purveyors of meaning. Works include ‘10th President’ Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, a project which proposed the President of Ireland would temporarily hand over his office to Willaim Delany who died in institutional care ; ‘The Trades Club Revival’ which saw the revival of the traditional working man’s club in Sligo. Other works include Corrib Gas Project Arts Centre, a solo show which looked at the Corrib Gas Pipeline and the North Mayo community affected by its development and ‘Hotel Ballymun’ which saw the transformation of a residential tower block on the outskirts of the city transformed into a boutique hotel by a group of local participants and organisations.

Softday, the art-science collaboration of artist Sean Taylor and computer scientist Mikael Fernström, engage with issues relating to natural cycles in time, climate change and its global effects. As a collaborative team they use their arts practice to explore relations to and understandings of nature, expressed through sonifications and multimedia artworks and performances. Both artists are interested in exploring the cracks between various media and creative genres such as expanded theatre, sound art, socially engaged practice, sculpture, music, dance and the application of new technologies. In 2011 Softday were selected as one of the winning entries to the prestigious project EUROPE – A SOUND PANORAMA, in Karlsruhe, Germany. The Karlsruhe live concert was recorded by Deutschlandradio Kultur and distributed to all European radio stations. Between 2011 and 2013, Softday collaborated with a number of Irish beekeepers, scientist and the monks of Glenstal Abbey, creating Amhrán na mBeach (Song of the Bees) about the life of honey bees and current threats such as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Dylan Tighe is an arts practitioner who works in various artforms including live art, theatre and music. As a singer songwriter he has released two albums to wide acclaim in Ireland and has been described as “an exquisite songwriter “ (The Sunday Times) and as “one of the most fascinating and inventive voices in the Irish underground” (RTÉ). Tighe also developed, in association with Catherine Joyce and 11 women in Blanchardstown Traveller Development Group, The Trailer of Bridget Dinnigan a version of ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’ by Federico García Lorca, which was performed at Dublin’s Project Arts Centre (2010). His radio-drama ‘Record’, inspired by his personal experience of emotional distress and mental health treatment, was nominated for the Prix Europa Radio Prize. As an actor has worked in radio, theatre, television, film, and appeared in productions with BBC, Channel 4, TG4, RTE and many independent theatre groups touring nationally and internationally.

Culture Ireland 2016 1916 centenary logo