1 year ago

Artistic License: The NCAD Graduate Show 2019


Migration, Brexit, the border, climate change and Ireland’s housing crisis are among the contemporary social issues explored in depth by graduates from NCAD’s Schools of Fine Art, Design and Education, together with postgraduates from the MFA in Fine Art, MFA in Digital Art and MFA Design programmes. “In exploring these issues, we see that our students not only look at the causes and arising social implications, but they also examine possible responses needed to make sure that social cohesion and social solidarity are maintained,” said Professor Sarah Glennie, director of NCAD, at the exhibition opening last week.

Highlights include the following:

Lee Hamill’s painting “Solutions for the Border” (above), displaces issues surrounding Brexit from the present into the 1980s, and vice versa. His depicts a dystopian present where human rights are non-existent and there is a complete social breakdown.


Northern Irish graphic design student Ciara McDonald explores how the political tensions generated by Brexit negotiations and border talks in “Say Nothing”. Presented in the form of a typographic book, her work aims to provide a voice to those who hail from what Seamus Heaney called the “wee six”.


In “Na Bogáin” print student Emma Crehan uses photography and screen print to explore buildings that have been abandoned as a result of social migration, particularly in rural Galway.


“Organomechanical” by Edward Stuart uses a combination of traditional metalwork and recycled milk bottles. Instead of demonising plastic, his work attempts to foster a greater appreciation for its value.


The intensive farming of cattle for beef is having a devastating effect on the environment. “Future Butcher” by Rachael Kaye Mellor proposes a redesign of a conventional butcher’s shop, which seeks to celebrate lab-grown beef.


One person dies from asthma in Ireland every week. The buteyko breathing method is a successful non-pharmacological intervention for the treatment of acute asthma. “Breasy” by Hannah Grogan is a user-friendly system that teaches children buteyko breathing through a virtual reality game environment.


“Agency For Data Collection” by Eleanor McMahon aims to give users the tools and information that they need to make more informed decisions in their online lives, and take back ownership of their personal information.


In “Slum Room. €400 Per Month. Headspace not included” Ro Lynam recreates the bedroom she has rented in a large Georgian house on Dublin’s exclusive Leeson Street for the three last years.

Need to Know: The Graduate Exhibition is on at NCAD, 100 Thomas Street, Dublin 8 until June 16. There is an extensive events programme inspired by the works. For further details visit www.ncad.ie. A digital catalogue of the students’ work is available at ncad.works.

Penny McCormick

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