Drawing on aspects of local history and contemporary culture, and grounded in the physical fabric of the landscape, the resulting eight short films blur the lines of fact and fiction, reality and the imagined, carrying information from peripheral locations, via the airwaves, through the water, and across layers of time.
The films developed in response to a 16-month period of ongoing research and sustained engagement with approximately 50 residents and specialists from the Belturbet area.
A bespoke App was designed by Mobanode, in collaboration with the artist, as a permanent home for the project. Alongside the films, it houses accompanying contextual information and a long narrative poem, Field Notes, written by Tom Conaty in response to the artist's process and research.
This participatory project involved fifteen resident families, of diverse cultures and individual histories, collected in this one physical space through a shared, fundamental need for a home. Totem is a response to the individual households, to the collective residents as a community of place, and to the importance of a secure, safe and permanent home.
"Due to a special combination of a dedicated, thorough, ambitious artist and a community of open, inquisitive, informed and risk-taking residents... Totem is more than a beautiful contemporary sculpture, it is a gift to the residents..." Gaynor Seville, Public Arts Coordinator, Mayo County Council
The artist was accepted into each home for discussions. Migration, nesting, and rooting emerged as prominent themes. A growing understanding of the residents, and of the surrounding environment, informed the artist's process. The resulting sculptural work, which comprises fifteen stainless steel and resin structures, developed organically and was unanimously agreed upon.
Developed through sustained engagement with a number of groups and individual residents of Castlerea, the central outcome of this project is a publication. It serves as a response to and a reflection of a moment in the social history of Ireland; the demise of rural towns in the wake of the economic downturn. The publication is particular to Castlerea, but indicative of broader economic, social and cultural dynamics.
"Cullivan's work frames moments in time, a place, a space of tangible waiting, making visible what is on the edge of our perception, giving space for voice. This is the moment between forgetting and remembering." Dr. Anne Byrne, Senior Lecturer, Political Science and Sociology, National University of Ireland Galway
A number of images from the publication were installed on the exterior walls of buildings throughout Castlerea. These images depict venues beyond the margins of the main streets, interior spaces or specific activities relating to groups who participated in the project. Their positioning is in direct juxtaposition to unused commercial premises within the town.
This participatory project developed in response to the decline in economic activity and community vibrancy within this rural town. Numerous buildings stood in a state of decay or disuse along the main street. The artist created a pop-up studio for public participation in one such unit. To address the potential of these empty spaces for positive projection and community action, she engaged in discussion and visual re-imagining with a number of groups and individuals. Ideas were recorded in written and visual form and collated as a database that was subsequently shared with the wider community.
The Ideas Agency provided valuable research for Meanwhile, a subsequent long-term project in the town.
The project was lead by Canadian artist Sylvia Grace Borda and aimed to foster an appreciation of cultural identities and geographical histories traversing the Border and to further define them within a broader artistic and technological history.
Eleven selected artists participated in a series of masterclasses in association with Queens University, Belfast, exploring Cartography, Archaeology, Photography and technologies of observation. New artworks were developed in response, collectively spanning video, photography, installation, drawing, sculpture and performance.
Cullivan's work explored physical access to land. The process involved walking, photographic documentation, conversations with local residents, mapping, projection and drawing.
A resulting large-scale drawing, Transparent States, makes reference to contemporary freedom of movement in the border areas in political and social terms. A series of small-scale drawings, Here to Theirs, addresses notions of societal boundaries that are generated through (or due to a lack of) familiarity, access, belonging, communication, and etiquette.
The collective works were exhibited at Leitrim Sculpture Centre, The Bluewall Gallery (Cavan), and a curated show by the artist at a pop-up gallery in Cavan.
A programme of free public events showcasing an extensive range of contemporary Visual Art practices to the public. Curated by the artist and funded by Cavan County Council Arts Office, 2010-11.
A number of Visual Art professionals were invited to share insight into their work and impart expertise in their specific areas through talks, professional development sessions, and workshops.
The programme was designed for the Visual Art community, the broader Arts community, and for members of the public with an interest in contemporary Visual Art practices in Ireland. The invited Visual Art professionals work in a variety of media and within a range of areas including studio practice, Arts in Education, Arts in Health, curatorship, collaborative practice, and Public Art. Each has a dynamic approach to their work that is inspiring to discover.
As The Ark's visual arts programme for 2007, the artist worked closely with the staff, a workshop assistant, a mentor, and an evaluator to devise and deliver workshops with schools and public groups. The engagement was underpinned by a strong ethos of collaboration and an emphasis on dialogue and experimentation. The theme of physicality ran through each successive workshop.
“I found the weekly trip to the Ark to be a magical experience for both the children and I. An element of surprise lay in store as the children’s ideas developed and were valued over the course of time. The direction of Yvonne and her team alongside the wide choice of resources available to the children opened an adventure on so many levels to them which will not cease.” Deirdre Hayes, Teacher, St Mary’s Senior N.S., Clondalkin, Dublin.
The residency developed in three parts of equal three-month duration; one-off workshops with groups, artist's studio response, and continuous workshops with four school groups.
Ongoing work was displayed in The Ark throughout the year and served as a tool for discussion and ideas generation with the groups. A final exhibition of selected work from all stages of the residency was displayed during December 2007 and January 2008.
This participatory project developed in response to rapid development in rural Ireland. The documentation of abandoned homesteads became the focal point. Rendered obsolete and left to disintegrate, they embodied a symbol of changing times; traditions in decline, communities dispelled, a growing obsession with materialism. The resulting body of work includes video, photography, audio and text, and reflects a moment of transition in Irish culture.
"Cullivan's show provides a worthy, imaginative response to a moment of quiet historical change." Aiden Dunne, Art Critic, The Irish Times
Following hand-drawn maps and verbal directions received during conversations with groups and individuals, the artist located and documented a number of abandoned homes. The resulting series of photographs reveals a slow disintegration; objects left to warp and mould, peeling layers of paint mingling with rich stains of dampness and moss. In an accompanying video work, seemingly still interiors slowly reveal rich atmospheres; a slight patter of rain against a kitchen sink, the echo of children at play in a field beyond, the flutter of wings as a robin claims territory.
The artist conducted interviews with two local National Schools and an Active Age Association. The conversations spanned lifestyle, religion, politics, economics, property, progress, the future, and community relations. The material manifests as audio and text-based works accompanying the visual works.
Cullivan worked at The Darley N.S. and St. Michael's N.S. in Cootehill, Cavan, over two 16-week blocks. Ongoing dialogue with the teacher and with the children was central to the project's development.
The artist used natural materials and processes such as printmaking, drawing, paper-making, hand-made slides, projection, animation, audio, and installation to explore memory and narrative with the children in relation to the linen industry.
The resulting body of work created by the children included digital photographs and large-scale drawings. In her studio, the artist produced a number of drawings, texts and photographs from collected natural objects in response.
The programme involved a number of creative exchange and evaluation days involving artists, teachers and stakeholders, which informed best practice guidelines for working creatively with young people in educational settings.