Butler Gallery is currently present Precarious Freedom, an exhibition by artist Joy Gerrard that includes a series of drawings and paintings made during 2020 and 2021 alongside new, large-scale installation works. Enjoy a gallery from Precarious Freedom above.

This touring exhibition has been curated by Aoife Ruane, Director of Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda where it was first shown in June 2021 and which then travelled to the Galway International Arts Festival in September 2021.

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Watch: Joy Gerrard introduces her piece International Womens Day

In Dark Europe, Gerrard has stripped the colour from all 27 national flags in the European Union. This work was conceived as a response to Brexit; however, Gerrard now considers it as an elegy or mourning work, post Covid. It's unified, monochrome sculptural form might prompt us to reflect on how the pandemic has reinforced nationhood, borders and blocs.

Dark Europe (Flag of the United Kingdom), 2021
Hand painetd slik, on ceremonial pole

In response to very recent protests focusing on women’s rights and freedoms, Gerrard has made Barrier, a free standing eight-metre-long painting. Barrier 1 reproduces a helicopter view of the Sisters Uncut protest that moved through central London after the vigil for Sarah Everard. Importantly for the subjects of Gerrard’s work, the Sarah Everard protest also marked a moment overshadowed by a new and disputed UK Police Bill, the intent of which is to radically increase state powers to control public demonstrations.

Barrier, London (March 2021, Westminister), 2021)
Japanese ink on linen, folding eight panel screen frame, 800 x 200cm

At the present juncture then, Gerrard’s years of documentation and reflection on protesting crowds allow a further set of questions about the fate of the politicised crowd amid new state responses in the UK to resistance, populism and protest.

Joy Gerrard: Precarious Freedom: Crowds, Flags, Barriers is at Butler Gallery, Kilkenny until 3 April 2022 - find out more here.