In light of the current global pandemic, Brexit, migration and climate change, our island status has been increasingly emphasised. Oileán aims to provide a platform for conversation about our future as an island nation in a time of uncertain political, economic and climatic upheavel.
What does being an island nation mean? Ireland became isolated from mainland Europe through rising sea levels before the last ice age leaving it as an island with approximately 80 smaller islands, 20 of which are still inhabited. On an island, you are surrounded and yet detached. The water allows for wonder and awe though recreational activities while also providing economic returns through fishing and trade. Ireland has strong traditions, heritage and culture and has undergone many changes in the last fifty years –agriculture, education, fisheries, industry, language, lifestyle, religion, and tourism. The Covid-19 pandemic, the uncertainty of Brexit and the fear and reality of climate change leaves us asking questions about the future of island life and circles back to the central question which each artist responds to in this exhibition – what does being an island nation mean?
Launch Event: In Conversation with the Curator and Artists: June 4th, 1pm on Youtube and Sample-Studios’ Podcast.