Today, Aosdána, the affiliation of creative artists in Ireland, elected six new members at its annual General Assembly in University College Cork. The six newly elected members are visual artist Aideen Barry; writer Anna Burns; architect Niall McLaughlin; visual artist Clare Langan; writer Doireann Ní Gríofa; visual artist Margaret Irwin West. This brings the membership to 250 members.
At the meeting, members expressed their deep sadness at the deaths of former members, writer Padraic Fiacc; writer Matthew Sweeney; composer Tommy Peoples; visual artist Melanie leBroquy; writer Macdara Woods and visual artist Sean McSweeney. All of whom have died since the 39th General Assembly. A minute's silence was observed in their memory.
Aosdána was founded in 1981, by the Arts Council and the Irish government, and honours artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the creative arts in Ireland.
Membership of Aosdána, which is by peer nomination and election, is limited to 250 living artists, who have produced a distinguished body of work. The membership includes creative artists working in a wide range of disciplines including architecture, choreography, music, literature and visual art. Aosdána members are eligible to apply for a cnuas from the Arts Council. The cnuas, granted for a five-year term, is a multi-annual bursary offered to Aosdána members who meet certain conditions, so that they can devote their energies fully to their art.
New member biographies:
Aideen Barry is a visual artist with a national and international profile whose means of expression are interchangeable, incorporating: film, performance, drawing, sculpture, installation and lens-based media. Her work is predominately preoccupied with ideas of otherness, and what Freud coined Das Unheimliche. She uses psychological ploys of cognitive dissonance to disarm the viewer with slapstick humour as a way of discussing intensely personal and provoke alternative perspectives on dark subject matter: mental illness, oppression and patriarchy. Selected solos and manifestations of her practice include presentations at: Mothers Tankstation; The Irish Museum of Modern Art; The Royal Hibernian Academy; Crawford Municipal Gallery; Butler Gallery; Louise T. Bloudin Gallery, London; Moderne Mussett, Sweden; Loop Biennale; The Wexner Centre, USA; The Banff Centre, Canada; The Headlands Centre for the Arts, US; Liste Art Fair, BAC Geneva; and Catherine Clark Gallery, US. Next year she will show at the Kaunas Biennale in Lithuania, a new solo project for Galway International Arts Festival and works at CAC Malaga, Spain.
Anna Burns was born in Belfast. She started writing in 1995 and her first book, No Bones, was commissioned by Flamingo HarperCollins in 1999. It was published in Britain in 2001 and won the Royal Society of Literature’s Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. It was also short-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction, for a Belfast Arts Award, Literature, and published in the US and in Greece. Her second book, Little Constructions was commissioned in 2003 and published in the Britain by Fourth Estate HarperCollins in 2006. Translation rights were sold in Romania and in The Netherlands. Her third book, Milkman, was published by Faber & Faber in 2018. It won the Man Booker Prize 2018 and is currently nominated for Novel of the Year category in the Irish Book Awards. It was published in the US in December 2018. To date it has sold in 13 other territories.
Clare Langan studied Fine Art at NCAD and with a Fulbright Scholarship, completed a film course at NYU. In 2017 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from NUI. She has represented Ireland in numerous international Biennales, including the B3 Biennale of the Moving Image Frankfurt, 2017; 25th Bienal de São Paulo, 2002 Brazil; The Liverpool Biennial - International 2002, Tate Liverpool: Sounds and Visions 2009, Museum of Modern Art, Tel Aviv and Singapore Biennial 2008. In 2003 Langan presented A Film Trilogy at MoMA in New York. Her films have won numerous international prizes including the Principle Prize at the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival 2007, Germany, and best film at Videoformes 2014, for The Floating World. Her work is in a number of international public and private collections including The Irish Museum of Modern Art, The Arts Council of Ireland and the OPW. She is currently working on a new film Songlines, which was funded by an Arts Council Award in 2018.
Niall McLaughlin was educated in University College Dublin and graduated in 1984. He worked for Scott Tallon Walker between 1984 and 1989. He established his own practice in London in 1990. Niall won Young British Architect of the Year in 1998, he was one of the BBC Rising Stars in 2001 and his work represented Britain in the US. His designs have won many awards including RIAI Best Building in the Landscape and the RIBA Stephen Lawrence Award for the Best Building under £1million in 2005 and 2015 and he was on the RIBA Stirling Shortlist 2013 and 2015. Niall is a visiting professor of architecture at University College London and was a visiting professor at the University of California Los Angeles from 2012-2013 and Yale from 2014-2015.
Doireann Ní Ghríofa
Doireann Ní Ghríofa was born in Galway in 1981. She grew up in rural County Clare and learned her Irish through the Gaelscoil system of immersive education. She attended UCC where she studied human anatomy, psychology and literature. She is a qualified teacher and holds a M.A. in Modern Irish Literature/ Nua-Ghaeilge UCC. She lives near Cork city with her husband and four young children.
Currently, Doireann is an Associate of Trinity College Centre for Literary Translation, Commissioned Writer for Temple Bar Gallery + Studios 2018, and Artist-in-Residence for Cork Midsummer Festival 2018-2019.
Margaret Irwin West
Born in India to Irish parents, Margaret returned to Ireland at the age of five. Her education led her to Trinity College Dublin followed by training as a painter in the Studio of André Lhote in Paris. Since 1991 Irwin has exhibited in many juried and open shows both in England and Ireland. She has received various awards and residencies. Her work is held by a number of public bodies as well as by private collections.
In April 2015 she held a retrospective solo exhibition in the Leinster Gallery, South Frederick St Dublin. In 2018 she received a Lifetime Achievement award from Galway County Council. Irwin continues to exhibit and holds periodic print making workshops. Her imagery is mostly figurative and drawn from observation. Much of it refers to the early Christian and prehistoric sites which abound in the West of Ireland where she lives.
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