Sample-Studios, in partnership with Spike Island and Sirius Arts Centre, are delighted to present a new short film by emerging artist Éanna Heavey, arising from his summer residency on Spike Island. The film will be presented from Friday the 13th of October and run until the 28th of October in The Lord Mayor’s Pavilion, Fitzgerald’s Park and presents the artist’s reflection on the rich and complex history of the island as a former monastery, barracks and most notably, a prison. More broadly, the film discusses male experiences in today’s society by revealing the layers of masculine experiences that can emerge from such a complex environment.
Éanna Heavey visited Spike Island numerous times throughout the summer to develop a film within the Punishment Block, an area of the island which he found particularly inspiring: “My work to date has explored the alarming statistics of male suicide, prison ratios, violence and homelessness and these themes found a deep resonance within the site. I was inspired by the struggles faced by those who were incarcerated on Spike Island. This short artistic film piece aims to capture the essence of what prisoners experienced in those cells, metaphorically reflecting the sense of otherness some men feel today, which can lead to mental health issues.”
Sample-Studios and Spike Island have worked in partnership since 2021 to offer its members an annual residency programme in this unique context. To date, six local artists have had the opportunity to develop their work on Spike Island. This year, Sirius Arts Centre also supported the partnership by offering mentorship and a commissioned essay which will be written about the exhibition by their critic in residence, Sarah Long.
Dorota Gubbins, Spike Island Museum Curator: “The ongoing collaboration between Spike Island and Sample-Studios has proven to be highly rewarding once again. Working with Éanna on this project allowed us to explore the social and human context of both the Victorian era and the late 20th-century prison. Behind the walls of every penal institution, there are individuals with their own complexities, fears, anxieties, and, one hopes, dreams”.
‘Seen/Unseen’ will be presented in The Lord Mayor’s Pavilion from October 13 to October 28, Tuesdays to Saturdays, 11 am to 4 pm and Sunday 12 pm to 4 pm.
Parents/ Guardians are advised that the film contains some nudity and scenes which may not be suitable for younger audiences. Admission is free.
Sample-Studios is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and Cork City Council.