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Mick O’Dea painting from the Martin Folan collection at Paveé Point, on loan to The Hugh Lane Gallery. Photographer: Joseph Carr.
Image: Mick O’Dea painting from the Martin Folan collection at Paveé Point, on loan to The Hugh Lane Gallery. Photographer: Joseph Carr.

Seamus Nolan’s work, Traveller Collection, a CAPP commission, investigates the idea of archive, deconstructs ideas on ‘heritage’ and engages with communities of place and of interest, involving Traveller activists and archivists. Artist Seamus Nolan, working with Paveé Point, representatives from the Travelling community and researcher Dr Eve Olney, is engaging in an ongoing collaborative process with cultural practitioners, Traveller activists and collectors in an exploration of what a Traveller collection or a Traveller specific museum might be and how it would be managed and maintained by Travellers.

Traveller Collection aims to create a central database of Traveller history and culture, which currently is documented in State-managed collections or independent collections, such as those managed by Traveller organisations or private collectors. Traveller Collection brings together collections, and clarifies information on what exists, where it exists and how it can be accessed. An online platform dedicated to Traveller culture, www.travellercollection.ie, is open to submission, moderation and curation by the public. Here, visitors to the site can view featured collections and recently loaded items. 

On the 21st June, Traveller Collection was launched folowing a day of discussion and celebration of Traveller Culture at both Paveé Point at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, as part of the CAPP event Practice and Power.

The sculpture Street Singer by Jerome Connor was loaned to Paveé Point by Dublin City Gallery, and was in place for public viewing on the 21st June. This marked the first such loan between the organisations and represents the start of a process to make representations of Traveller culture more visible within the museum.

A roundtable discussion was held in Paveé Point on Representation and the archive, with Seamus Nolan, artist; Rosaleen McDonagh, Paveé Point; Dr. Eve Olney, Artist and Ethnographer; Jessica O’ Donnell, Head of Education and Community Outreach, Dublin City Gallery, and chaired by Oein de Bhairduin. This wide-ranging discussion explored questions of ownership, agency, and representation of Traveller culture and heritage. Points of discussion included the challenges of collecting Traveller culture, and the related necessity to have a Traveller collection maintained by Travellers themselves. 

Traveller Collection at the Hugh Lane Gallery

Traveller Collection at the Hugh Lane Gallery was officially launched by Niall Crowley, founder of the Values lab, who also launched Prototypes by Doireann O’Malley, which brings together transgender studies, science fiction, bio politics, psychoanalysis, AI, and experimental music.  Niall spoke of the importance of compassion, values and the arts, and their relevance to each exhibition.

Traveller Collection at The Hugh Lane Gallery includes seven paintings by Mick O’Dea from the Martin Folan collection at Paveé Point, on loan to the Hugh Lane Gallery for the duration of the exhibition. Attendees are welcomed to the gallery by flowers hand-made by the women of the Primary Health Care Traveller Project in Paveé Point, and are guided to the exhibition by work by Tinsmith James Collins, where they can watch a series of films on Traveller Culture, curated by Seamus.

The exhibit also features archival material that forms the Irish Travelling People: a Resource Collection.  This collection, originally created by Eileen L’Amie at Ulster University, is borrowed from the Special Collections of Ulster University.  While on display in the Gallery, the material will be scanned and digitised, becoming part of www.travellercollection.ie.

The exhibition will run in Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane, Gallery 10 until September 22nd.

Read more about this commission and artist Seamus Nolan here, and about the exhibition at Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane.

Listen to Traveller Collection on RTÉs Arena, hosted by Sean Rocks, 22nd June 2018.

This is a co-commission between Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts and Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, and supported by the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP), a transnational programme co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

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