Cavan artist Rita Duffy's 'The Souvenir Shop' marks the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. It's "a refreshing antidote to the seriousness of the centenary commemorations," says The Irish Times' - Vicky Cosstick.
Rhonda Tidy recently attended a conference in Galway at the invitation of Galways County Council arts office on behalf of Rita Duffy, The Souvenir Shop. Picture Minister Heather Humphries chatting with Rhonda Tidy, Cavan County Council and Maeve Mulrennan, curator regarding the 1916 Commemorations and The Challenge and Promise of Sovreignty.
The next tour venue for The Souvenir Shop will be the United States of America.
'Dancing at the Crossroads' oil on canvas by Rita Duffy, 2015
The Souvenir Shop, 13 North Great Georges Street, Dublin, Tues-Sun, 12pm – 6pm. Adm. Free
The exhibition runs until 11th June 2016
The Souvenir Shop is a modern day reimagining of the shop on Moore Street Dublin, which was HQ to the Revolution and presided over by Revolutionary leader Thomas Clarke. The Souvenir Shop is full of home products typical of the average household around the time of the Easter Rising and which the average Irish person would strongly associate with a nurturing home environment. These are reconceived by Duffy as a satirical and ironic play on war and conflict, often featuring the main players in Irish life, North and South, around the time of the Revolution. Many of these items were recreated by artist in her Ballyconnell studio and by members of the Irish Country Woman’s Association. At the core of her work is the drive to highlight the importance of the role of women at this time of conflict.
ICA National Reps, Front Right- artist Rita Duffy
Soldiers 'Wound Wort'
'Black & Tan Boot Polish'
The body of work she is preparing for 2016, Souvenir Shop, will examine the shifting meanings and commoditization of gestures and symbols associated with the revolution, examining how the images, objects and themes of the 1916 Easter Rising and conflict more generally become ‘souvenirs’. The work also explores how ordinary people and everyday heroes cope with conflict and resolution. Referencing the city centre shops once owned by Proclamation signatory Tom Clarke, Duffy will create a shop in Dublin city centre filled with foodstuffs, goods, medicines, with images of the rising and its heroes, woven into everyday things. The artist will transform the historical and everyday into the magical, and will fundamentally question public attitudes towards violence, commemoration and national identity.
Rita is currently working with the ICA Ireland and womens groups along the border to produce this collection of products. At the moment these groups of producers, or 'active cells' as Rita terms them. are producing new work nationwide. The official launch of the project will be in Dublin on Centenary day 24 April 2016.
Rita Duffy was born and grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Duffy works in the figurative/narrative tradition, and her enquiries into questions of Irish identity, history and politics often stem from autobiographical experience. Her work involves an exquisite crafting of materials and generally takes the form of painting, drawing and mixed media installation. Duffy’s work is often humorous, drawing on absurdist traditions in art, and referencing Surrealism and Magic Realism. Her work is held in national and international collections, and Duffy exhibits widely. She has undertaken many public commissions and has worked with local and community groups in her projects.
Helen Carey is a Dublin-based independent curator, whose practice is focused on memory, history and cultural identity. Carey curated a series of exhibitions for the Lockout 1913/2013 centenary and has worked most recently with Ewa Partum, Michael Warren, and Mark Curran on the ongoing project THE MARKET. She is currently Director of Fire Station Artists’ Studios, and was previously Director/Curator, Limerick City Gallery of Art and inaugural Director, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris