Dara McGrath: For Those That Tell No Tale

24 April – 29 August 2021

Crawford Art Gallery announces Dara McGrath’s forthcoming exhibition ‘For Those That Tell No Tales’ as part of the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme and will open as an online exhibition 24 April.

Through 60 photographic works, McGrath explores the powerful living histories of those who lost their lives directly due to the Irish War of Independence. Launching online on Saturday 24 April, an interactive map will reveal a selection of the artist’s images and simultaneously, across selected billboards in Cork City, audiences will also be able to encounter the compelling stories of a century ago.

The full experience of the exhibition will await visitors with the much anticipated reopening of Crawford Art Gallery in due course.

The War of Independence was a defining moment in Ireland’s history. Between 1919 and 1921, approximately 1,400 people died in the struggle for an independent Irish republic. Cork city and county saw the bloodiest of the fighting. In total, 528 people of all backgrounds – including members of the public, Irish Volunteers, and British Forces – lost their lives directly due to the conflict in Cork.

Beyond the recognised memorials and major landmarks there are many more sites within the landscape where people lost their lives. The public walk by unaware of the tragedies that took place at these unmarked locations, including that of Norwegian sailor Carl Johannsen whose life was ended by a ricochet bullet while alighting from a boat in the Port of Cork docks or Josephine Scannell who, at nineteen years old, was shot dead by a stray bullet while sitting near a window in her house on French’s Quay. Amongst the death toll, 63 suspected or known informants were executed in the city and county. Some of their bodies were never seen again.

The photographs of contemporary artist Dara McGrath elevate these spaces as sites of memory for those individual lost lives. With accompanying texts, over sixty works will be exhibited in which McGrath acknowledges the place and circumstances of their deaths, which bore so heavily on their communities and still resonate today. An online interactive map of the locations will be available for visitors to Crawford website, to further explore a selection of the photographs and stories. City walkers will also have the opportunity to see the images and text at a selection of locations around the City.

McGrath’s work is based on research by Dr. Andy Bielenberg of the Department of History at University College Cork, who has researched the lives, circumstances and sites of death of the War of Independence victims. The exhibition is kindly supported by The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative and Cork Public Museum.

Crawford Art Gallery Director, Mary McCarthy says “We are pleased to be working with artist Dara McGrath to present this new body of work. It provides new insights into our experiences of place and history and acknowledges that places are complex and layered. McGraths images and texts are evocative and mesmerising.

”In conjunction with this exhibition, Crawford Art Gallery’s Learn & Explore team will be hosting a programme of events, ranging from guided walking tours around Cork City, ‘In Conversation’ events with McGrath and other artists, and collaborations with schools and educators.

Details will be published through the Gallery’s website and social media channels in the coming weeks

(posted here 31st March 2021).

Leave a Comment