Heroes and Anti-Heroes
Solo exhibition, Origin Gallery
This exhibition is an examination of cultural symbols in light of Freud and Jung’s theories. Although references to different continental cultures are made throughout the work, the emphasis is on the collective consciousness of Ireland, exploring the Prehistoric, Celtic, Scandinavian and Christian symbology which has influenced this island.
The focus of the show is on the heroes and antagonists of Irish myth. Of particular importance are three characters in the famous Táin epic; Cúchulainn, Queen Maedhbh and the ancient Goddess of War, The Morrigan. These works are not literal illustrations of myths; they are instead an examination of archetypal symbols, with the aim of further understanding the ‘fantasies’ or the psychology of the Irish nation, and investigating these symbols’ relationships to contemporary Ireland.
In Gods and Heroes of the Celts by Marie-Louise Sjoestedt, we are told: ‘Some peoples, such as the Romans, think of their myths historically, the Irish think of their history mythologically.’ This was said in reference to myths surrounding the first arrivals of people to Ireland; however it is true if we also consider our modern history. Cúchulainn, arguably the greatest fictional Irish hero, was elevated to a tragic symbol of Irish rebellion when Eamon de Valera unveiled a statue of his death by Oliver Sheppard at the GPO in 1935, resulting in the Easter Rising developing a mythic nature.