How Does Art Contribute to the Conversation on the Great Famine?

A recent installation of artworks by Orlagh Meegan-Gallagher at the Carrickmacross Workhouse, County Monaghan was featured on the Irish TV program, County Matters. The four textile pieces remember the famine's victims, sparking a dialogue between contemporary representations of famine and the historical context of the workhouse. The program features an interview with the Great Hunger Institute's Founding Director Christine Kinealy, whose research largely inspired Meegan-Gallagher. Of the role of art in remembrance, Kinealy states, "The beauty and value of artwork is that there is so much left to the imagination and that takes us to places where we can explore and empathize with the depth of that tragedy."

What do you think? View the video here and share your thoughts with us!

Ireland's Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University is a scholarly resource for the study of the Great Hunger (1845-1852).Through a program of lectures, conferences, courses and publications, Ireland's Great Hunger Institute offers a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of the Irish Famine, also known as An Gorta Mór. The Institute also fosters an appreciation for Irish culture and history.

Tags: An Gorta Mor, Christine, Famine, Great Hunger, Kinealy, Monaghan, Visual Arts

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I think beautiful and meaningful works of art are fitting ways of remembering the tragedy and its victims.  Thanks for sharing this with us, Sarah.

There is no greater preservation than art to remember those who came before and suffered so much. 

Beautiful artistry rich with color and life as it must have been before the plight of hunger brought its misery.     

I think art is a great and fitting way to deal with it. What I find very sad though is that even today, many Famine graves are left ignored or are treated with a level of disrespect. I remember a documentary that aired about 20 years ago where the presenter was standing by a Famine grave on a beach in Donegal. It was just a huge pile of stones which covered the bodies. Bones were exposed and falling out all over it. It was shocking really. But sadly, that is how the Irish continue to choose to deal (or not deal) with it.


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