Object Matters: Making 1916
Where did the tricolour in the GPO come from? In nationalist mythology, it arrived in Ireland during the ‘year of revolutions’ of 1848 and was then flown in triumph from the buildings occupied by the doomed but heroic rebels in Easter week 1916. But according to artist and educator Brian Hand, the best-known tricolour up to 1916 was the green, white and purple of the suffragettes. In research to be presented at a groundbreaking conference on April 26-7, Hand will demonstrate that our national flag was scarcely recognised in 1916.
Focussing on the objects, spaces and art used and inspired by the Rising, other topics to be explored at the ‘Making 1916’ conference include the artefacts made by prisoners at Frongoch internment camp – Celtic crosses and harps as might be expected, but also macramé handbags! The often-overlooked stories of female imprisonment are also included through archaeologist Laura McAtackney’s analysis of the autograph books of women rebels which illustrate the diversity of their experience and the divisions and divergences in their backgrounds, aims, opinions and expectations.
The different ways the myths of 1916 were created and sustained will also be explored. Brian Crowley (curator of the Pearse Museum) will look at how the famous side-profile image of Pearse – which so powerfully projects his heroic ideals – owes its origin to his attempts to hide a birth deformity when being photographed, while photo historian Orla Fitzpatrick will demonstrate how photographs of the widows and children of 1916 were used in the aftermath of the Rising to emphasise their respectability and propriety – very much at odds with the reality of rebellion and violence.
Lar Joye (curator of military history at the National Museum of Ireland) will explore how the Rising was presented in museum exhibitions in 1932, 1941, 1966 and 1991. Other speakers include Professor Mary Daly (UCD) who will address the ways 1916 was commemorated in the years after the Rising – particularly relevant at this moment when the centenary looms – and Kevin Rockett (Professor of Film Studies at Trinity College Dublin) who will look at how the Rising affected the depiction of Irish history in film.
Organised by Dr Lisa Godson (National College of Art & Design/GradCAM) – and Dr Joanna Brück (UCD School of Archaeology)
Supported by NCAD, GradCAM, UCD and Dublin City Council to be launched by the Lord Mayor of DublinLocation - the Wood Quay Venue in Dublin City Council’s Civic OfficesDates - Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April.
Open to the public - full programme and registration details can be found at http://1916conference.wordpress.com/.
Attendance - €50 waged/€30 unwaged including refreshments.