Sunday, 22 May 2016


The chq Building on Dublin's Custom House quay has recently being transformed  once more as times and peoples tastes change. From 19th century stack house, to  a Celtic Tiger born shopping mall in the early 2000's,  to a mixed use space including some retail, cultural spaces, and a very large tech co-working space called Dog Patch Labs. The most recent addition is Epic Ireland, which offers visitors Dublins most immersive visitor experience  as they explore the unique global journey of the Irish people.
It was with that in mind that the management of the chq building were approached and the idea of hosting a show of On Leaving was floated by my partner/producer Carole Caprani.  The team there were enthusiastic. It was felt that a certain amount of synergy could be harnessed by both exhibits which are indeed  proving to be complimentary.  The work was hung on Saturday and Sunday the 14th and 15th of May by Ian Monahan and Adam Abuzenan and the show opened it's doors to the public the following day.  I was in the USA for this first few days, (more about that in the next few posts), but returned on Friday morning in time for the opening reception which happened between 17.30 and 20.00 that evening. 
I was delighted that Irish Times journalist and curator of the blog Generation Emigration, Ciara Kenny enthusiastically accepted my invitation to open the show and she made some very good points about the common ground we share in telling the story of the individual. I would echo that our position is very important in  the age when people  are fed generalisations about things such as migration, migrant culture and the realities of modern life.  Series like Generation Emigration and indeed my work play an important part of debunking the myths spun out in other areas of the media 
which paint a monotone picture of our society. Testimony featured on Generation Emigration has played an important part in keeping the absent present in our  national consciousness  and for that we should all be very grateful.  

On the night although slightly jet lagged I really enjoyed showing the work to guests who had never seen the work before, and introducing the other strands of the piece to those who were only familiar with the leaving Dublin Series.  Indeed I have had three full days already in the space talking endlessly with enthusiastic viewers of the work who in some cases only ventured into chq just to get a bite to eat. In fact, nipping into chq for a bite to eat should be the start point.The work should be something there to  be discovered and in this location I am delighted to be the perfect filling to a lunchtime sandwich treat. There are indeed some great places to eat in the building and everyday the concourse is filled with happy workers from the offices and businesses close by doing just that.  I suggest you join them over the next two weeks and finish lunch off with a look at at ON LEAVING,  and maybe even a visit to the vaults which now house EPIC, the story of our diaspora and how it has shaped the world in which we live.
Big thanks to Paul Mc Carthy for the photos (I owe you one for sure) and to all who turned up on the night. I really appreciate it. Tune in here over the next few weeks for some tales of adventure. Please share and comment on this post below and get your friends together and go for a bite in the chq and drop in for a long (or short) discussion  with me, I will be there till 4th June 11.00 - 16.00 daily..

Thanks again to all

Thursday, 19 May 2016


I am so delighted to be announcing the first showing of On Leaving In my hometown, Dublin, the place where the work for the large part was conceptualised and made.
True a component part of the project, Leaving Dublin, was shown there in the  National Photographic Archive as part of the photoIreland festival show Living-Leaving   in 2012. But the show of all three components of the greater photographic project did not come together until October 2013 when I was invited to assemble a solo show for Siamse Tire, in Tralee Co, Kerry.
As this show came together on site the plan for a book of On Leaving evolved over the stay in Kerry where I  designed and  then Installed the show with  the help of fellow photographer Lanka Perren. From that day my mission was to work on pulling the final components of the work together by traveling and making the remaining portaits and Landscapes  needed to cradle the texts which were slowly coming into view. It took a further year of travel and the intervention of superbly thought out design by Niall McCormack to bring the book On Leaving into existence. Terrifically printed by Nicholson Bass in Belfast  this book was named  the best printed book of the year In 2015 by the print industry of all Ireland.
 The Book On Leaving is the reason for this presentation of the work in Dublin. The existence of Epic Ireland in the vaults of the chq building the reason for showing the work  in this location. And the  time is now right  to show the work to a bigger audience  as it  appears things are returning to normal in Ireland at this time.
As we all know appearances can be deceptive so we have to be aware of all that has happened to the people of Ireland over the last eight years or so. On Leaving provides a lens through which we can look back over  this latest twist in the tale of the Irish Diaspora. During the period of the show the book will be available to contextualise the work which hangs in the large gallery space on the ground floor of the chq building.
I am grateful to  Carole Caprani who arranged the show and to Ian Monahan for   frame design,  providing the soundtracks to many manifestations of the work and  for  hanging the work with    Adam Abuzenan, and to  Pete Smyth for texting us up.
The book is on sale during the show period and I hope viewers of the exhibition take advantage of the special exhibition offer to push the book out throughout the world( it's a free postage offer)
I also hope that a a big group of you the readers of this blog turn up on the night of the launch on Friday the 20th of May 2016 to celebrate all of those people who took part and collaborated in the work that has become On Leaving. The work wil be introduced by Ciara Kenny, journalist and editor of the Irish Times Generation Emigration Blog
I hope to see you there!