Unveiled on International Women’s Day ahead of Easter Rising Commemorations
By Irish Examiner Staff
Irish artist Gearoid O’Dea has installed a 35 foot street art installation inspired by the Women of 1916, with the piece being unveiled on International Women’s Day. The installation is on the corner of South Great George’s Street, the same location as Joe Caslin’s iconic Marriage Equality mural.
The title of Gearoid’s piece is ‘Le Chéile I Ngruaig’, which translates as ‘Together in the hair’. It features three women who each played an important role in the Easter Rising: Countess Markievicz (left), Margaret Pearse (right) and Grace Gifford-Plunkett (bottom). The piece was drawn in full colour using the mediums of colouring pencil and gouache, with a focus on meticulous detail. It was then scanned and digitally reproduced on a large scale.
Speaking about his installation, artist Gearoid O’Dea said:
“This 1916 Easter Rising centenary year seems like a great opportunity to re-imagine the kind of Ireland we could live in. Following the example of the drafters of the Proclamation and their landmark declaration of equal rights for men and women, I want to explore the role that women played in the 1916 Rising.”
“Countess Markievicz is the icon. She is often depicted as a revolutionary (having taken an active role in the Rising as second in command to Michael Mallin at St Stephen’s Green), but I wanted to portray her in contemplative passivity. Her reactive pose shows another side to this famous guru.”
“Margaret Pearse gave her son, Patrick to the Rising. Her sacrifice might have been greater than his, her sense of loss more enduring. She had to witness the Civil War, and see an Ireland emerge that fell far short of the Rising’s ideals.”
“Grace Gifford-Plunkett was a political cartoonist. Her husband Joseph was executed in Kilmainham Gaol on the day of their marriage. His execution began to turn the public in favour of the rebels.”
“I feel that, taken together, each of these women strike a balance. Each played a different kind of role in the Rising. Some are well remembered, others not. These portraits will be woven together by strands of hair. For me, the texture of the hair suggests a toughness, a gentleness, and something more mysterious. Hair was an important symbol in Celtic mythology, empowering and magical. As a composing element in this piece, it feels right.”