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We make our own histories

Start Date 28 February 2024
End Date 30 June 2024
Venue National Museum of Ireland
Location Dublin,Ireland
Curator Maolíosa Boyle and Dr Jonathan Cummins.
A Dress for Ramlah (left green) and A Dress for Akunma (right brown), on display in we make our own histories

What does Irish culture and identity look like one hundred years after the formation of the state?

This question is at the heart of we make our own histories on display at the National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks from 28th February – 30th June 2024.

The exhibition is the culmination of artist Anthony Haughey’s residency at the Museum from 2021 – 2024.

During his residency Haughey collaborated with more than 500 people across Ireland to create a series of artworks inspired by the Museum’s collections, which explore how we understand and embrace emerging cultural identities.

Curated by Maolíosa Boyle and Jonathan Cummins, the exhibition, in their words, ‘highlights the importance of inviting contemporary artists into our cultural institutions to reveal, reframe and engage in ways that allow us to reconsider who we are.’

Through artworks that are in turn provocative, playful, complex and visually beautiful, the exhibition aims to challenge, to question and to engage visitors.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

A Dress for Akunma
Akunma is a young African Irish woman and member of the Nwanne Diuto African Women’s group who worked with Anthony Haughey to design and make this stunning garment which fuses Irish Ogham script and Nsibidi, a 2000 BCE ideographic script indigenous to the Ejagham peoples of south-eastern Nigeria.

A Flag for Ireland
More than 300 participants were invited by Haughey in a series of artist led workshops to reimagine a flag for Ireland, one hundred years on from the foundation of the state, which might represent people from all cultures and traditions. In the exhibition, visitors can see all 306 flag designs in a series of specially made books, as well as engage with 40 life size flags displayed on flagpoles. Visitors to the exhibition will be encouraged to create their own flag designs on response cards in the exhibition reflection space.

Young People’s Assembly
Haughey worked with young people from five post primary schools from Sligo, Limerick, Belfast, Clare and Dublin to draft their own Manifestos for a Future Ireland. Each school held their own Assembly, in the Ceramics Room of the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology in March 2023. Haughey’s installation features the table at which the Assemblies took place and five bespoke, mobile sculptural monitors showing looped footage of the Assemblies, an exercise in deliberative democracy discussing urgent issues facing their generation.

Images courtesy of The National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.