I have always been passionate about our heritage and culture and felt driven to create this body of work mainly because of the lack of information in relation to how many women were involved. Having sourced the list of over 300 names from the Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht, prior to them being made public, I wanted to celebrate their role collectively, in that whatever form the work would take, it would not put someone’s contribution before another's.
I had applied to the ER Program at Emmanuel College Boston, MA., USA where there is a Social Justice Participant selected each year. I felt that my proposal would slot very well into the program and also that there is such a strong cultural connection between Ireland and America, particularly Boston, and also because of the facilities available to me there.
Having worked tirelessly on the installation it was realized and the installation was exhibited at Emmanuel College, Boston and the Irish Cultural Center in Canton, New England, MA. and the Maine Irish Heritage Centre, Portland, Maine.
The installation is called “Nir neart gur cur le cheile” and includes 300 handmade ceramic bowls, each of the bowls has a name inscribed onto its base. These bowls have been arranged in a circle on the floor and lit with candles. The second piece in the installation is a green wall hanging approx. 7 feet x 7 feet with 300 white ladies handkerchiefs loosely attached to green buttons, each embroidered with a ladies initials in orange and finally the third piece in the installation a video piece, where the names in white script of the 300 women are floating over a sea of tears to the music The Celtic Sunset.
At each location I have invited a musician to play Mna na hEireann alongside the work.
Beth Newman Maguire