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25 Jun 2022

Artist honours brother killed in motorcycle accident

Brigid Mulligan

artist Brigid Mulligan is honouring the twenty-year anniversary of her brother’s death in a motorcycle accident

A new solo exhibition at Artlink Fort Dunree by Longford-born artist Brigid Mulligan is honouring the twenty-year anniversary of her brother’s death in a motorcycle accident – acting not only as a ‘poignant and thought-provoking’ memorial to him but also as an instigator for others to open up conversations about their own experiences of grief and loss. 

Entitled ‘A Portrait of Life Through Belonging’ the new solo exhibition which is showcased in the Saldanha Gallery up until 24 July 2022, includes twenty-one life-size cyanotype prints (one for each year of life) ranging from a wristwatch to a motorcycle, a collection of belongings that Brigid’s late brother owned. The artist’s family has held onto each item as if it were a part of him. 

The exhibition also includes a series of light sculptures including a ‘Chandelier’ that explores what alternative shrines could look like. Assembled from recycled motorcycle indicators, when installed the work becomes an immersive experience where the viewer is plunged into a darkened space of contemplation. 

As Brigid explains: “I am compelled to create work that investigates my perspective of loss in the greater context of how Irish society deals with grief. Having experienced the loss of my brother due to a motorbike accident when I was just sixteen, I felt there was a lack of understanding around communicating grief.  

“The work is an exploration of the beauty within pain and the material is interchangeable chosen to reciprocate the intent. It is vital that the work opens up spaces for meaningful conversations – and the benefit of exhibiting this work at Artlink Fort Dunree provides the opportunity to engage with new audiences while opening up a conversation about how we experience grief. 

“It is important to bring non-art communities like the Irish bikers into the art gallery and engage with the people of Donegal who have also experienced high levels of loss due to road traffic accidents. Through the guise of art-making we can safely explore our previously unshared perspective on grief.” 

Artlink Project Co-ordinator Rebecca Strain added: "This exhibition was selected from over 50 applications because it not only enables an Irish artist to develop their practice but its theme is very relevant to the community living and visiting here. Many motorcyclists visit Fort Dunree over the summer and we wanted to show artwork that spoke to their community.

"Last year and this year we've been working with the Irish Hospice Foundation on the Compassionate Culture Network project in Buncrana.

"We saw that there was a real need for people to find space to deal with grief and loss. We hope that Brigid’s use of darkness and light, her sensitivity to grief, even many years on, allows visitors to feel that it's important to remember people we've lost and to find ways to keep them part of our daily lives. 

“As Brigid so aptly puts it: “When people die, we frantically try to hold onto them in any way we can, we try to collect objects, memories and places but these all falter. Memories fade as if grasping someone who is a dream.” 

 ‘A Portrait of Life Through Belonging’ by Brigid Mulligan will be showcased at Artlink Fort Dunree up until 24 July 2022 and is open daily from 10:30am – 4:30pm.

For further information visit artlink.ie email info@artlink.ie or telephone 0838696513 / 0864532428. 

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