Accommodate vs Assimilate – Leanne McDonagh

Dates:
Thursday 7 December 2017 - Sunday 25 February
Accommodate vs Assimilate – Leanne McDonagh

New exhibition Accommodate vs. Assimilate by Leanne McDonagh investigates the devastating housing crises and human rights violations endured by the Irish Travelling Community in contemporary Ireland. Commissioned especially for Triskel, the exhibition launches at the Arts Centre on 6pm Thursday, 7th December following a panel discussion focusing on the issues raised from the work.

Leanne became a household name through her participation in Norah’s Traveller Academy, an RTÉ TV reality programme where Norah mentored Irish Traveller Women who are pursuing careers and starting their own businesses. Through this process Leanne landed an exhibition at Dublin’s Origin Gallery, entitled “Reminiscense” and subsequently at Cork’s Vision Centre.

Last year Leanne was awarded Arts Council funding to create a body of work based on the difficulties and issues around accommodation within the Travelling Community. It is a topic close to her heart as she is a member of this community and has witnessed the devastation and suffering caused by the situation first hand. While many photographers have documented the lives and legacy of the Travelling Community from the outside Leanne is the first member of the community to make artwork of this nature which will be seen by the general public.

Through the work Leanne draws attention to the substandard living Conditions that Travellers are faced with on a daily basis. While she hasn’t made activist statements in her work previously she hopes that the Accommodate vs. Assimilate exhibition will be a building block in the campaign to establish proper living conditions for the community. “Traveller accommodation is something that has gained great public interest throughout the country in recent years,” she says, “especially since the tragedy of Carrickmines and even though it has always needed attention, up until recently it has been widely ignored and brushed under the carpet by many who have had the power and ability to make changes. The simple matter of fact is that the local authorities are not doing what they should be doing with the money allocated for Traveller accommodation and it is time about time that they were held responsible for such.”

Leanne has created a few different strands of work for this exhibition. Some pieces are developed from photographic imagery while others remain purely photographic. In these a slow exposure creates an abstraction taking the focus off the actual person and creating a more general narrative representative of the community. Leanne developed the work for the exhibition in her Ballynoe studio near Fermoy as well as undertaking two residencies at Cill Rialaig Art Centre, Co. Kerry in May & October 2017 and at The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, Co. Monaghan in November 2017.

Accommodate vs. Assimilate opens at Triskel Arts Centre 6pm, Thursday 7th December 2017 and runs until Sunday 25 February 2018. Exhibition is open 10am – 5pm | Tuesday – Saturday & 2pm – 5pm | Sunday.