Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre
Preview Friday 3 August
Exhibition continues till 27 October
A new film and sound installation commissioned by The Wapping Project playfully explores questions around creation of borders. What are borders? How are they constructed? What are the consequences of their creation? Who draws the border? What is considered when it is being drawn? In Making Her Mark, a woman, performed by Scottish dance artist Tess Letham, sets out to draw a borderline directly onto a landscape. The looped piece accentuates the ridiculousness and futility of the struggle to translate a map onto a territory as the woman attempts to execute this physically demanding task with an outsized pencil. McClean questions what it feels like to create a line that closes down or confines movement, what it feels to cross it, to go through or to be cut off or to go around and round in circles.
The accompanying film To Be Retained plays with issues of smuggling – as soon as a border is drawn opportunities for illicit movement of goods and people are opened. This humorous, colourful and rapidly cut film takes as its starting point the General Register of Seizure 1867—1934 from the Public Records Office in Northern Ireland featuring previously undisclosed lists of goods sized at the border, the circumstances of each incident and the penalties. The register includes seizures such as 8 Live Cattle, 10 Umbrellas, 4 Pairs of Socks and 2 boxes of flowering plants that subsequently die at the Customs House and are rendered valueless and no longer subject to import duty. The piece underlines the ludicrous bureaucracy of border control and duty collection.
Making Her Mark has its first showing at Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre on the island of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides where the original performance was filmed. The exhibition is accompanied by publication To Step Across the Line featuring newly commissioned writing by Kapka Kassabova, Tara Bergin and Lea Anderson.
Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre, Lochmaddy, North Uist, Outer Hebrides, HS6 5AA
Making Her Mark, a film and sound installation, is commissioned and produced by The Wapping Project with funding from Women’s Playhouse Trust. The production of the work is supported through a Major Individual Award from Arts Council Northern Ireland with additional support from Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre, North Uist, Outer Hebrides.
Mairéad McClean was born and grew up in Beragh, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland and has lived and worked for the past 25 years in London. She is an award-winning filmmaker who has produced work around the themes of memory, identity and migration. Her recent piece No More, won the inaugural MAC International Art Prize in 2014 and was acquired for the National Collection at The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, through the Hennessy Art Fund. Recent exhibitions and screenings of her work include CCA Glasgow (2015), Whitechapel Gallery, London, (2016), The Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival: Faces of Conflict, Pittsburgh, USA, (2016), The Now and After Exhibition Video Art Festival and Exhibition, Fabrika, Moscow, (2017).