My parents' arrived separately from Ireland to the UK in 1954. They didn't talk much about their arrival here, but constantly referred to Ireland as home. Throughout their lives, they held onto the notion of 'returning' to the motherland. For both of them migration offered an escape from difficult social circumstances as they followed a long tradition of Irish migrant labour. Their expectations like so many others were at odds with the realities of post war Britain, but despite having the choice to do so, they remained here in the UK and died in Birmingham with the request that their ashes be strewn in Snowdonia somewhere along the route they drove from Birmingham to Holyhead to catch the ferry to and from Ireland. They like so many others were caught in a place of in-betweenness. A liminal place of disconnect, reaffirming the homelessness or lack of 'home' embedded within the breath. Sometimes consciously, most of the time unconscious—passed down from generation to generation.
SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW
Walk and Walk, PhD research (2015), 4.26 minutes, is a sound piece, which uses the echoing voice, repetition of language and word games to explore the concept of flashbacks and anchor the fragile position of remembering a traumatic event. Intentionally, overlapping language begins to make audible the idea that memory is not linear and doesn’t arise from a straightforward remembering, rather it meanders, wanders and repeats.
The Dead, a Sound Piece for 'ARTIST ROOM. Gerhard Richter - Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery; September 2015- January 2016. Made for '48 Portraits.'Because of the time restraint and the lack of representation of women in 48 Portraits, I started simply reciting the surnames of the portrayed. Exploring the way the names felt in my mouth, and the difficulty with their pronunciation, was about the absence of women and my desire to be included. The vocals layered with recordings from exhibition openings at the Tate and the Berlin Biennale introduced more female voices, strengthening the female presence. The echo, whispers and delays that weave in and out are reminiscent of the first line of a Billy Collins poem: "The dead are always looking down on us, they say."
Breathe Wind Into Me: 22 minutes (2019) A multi-channel moving image and sound installation about our relationship to the earth. Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, wrote about exile not as a geographic state but something he carried within him throughout his life. In his poetry, he explores his identity as that of a stranger, remembering through the landscape where the water symbolises hope, revives his spirit and brings life to the riverbed. His words touch upon the traumatic repercussions of inescapable exile—of a people without their land: a river without water, or a land without trees. This work is the beginning of an exploration of the landscape as the symbolic representation of the traumatic repercussions of being exiled from one’s homeland. The displaced, unable to return, experience a life of fragmentation and dislocation.