Join us for this fascinating guest lecture by Dr. Melanie Otto, Assistant Professor, School of English, Trinity College Dublin. Dr. Otto’s research interests include postcolonial and Caribbean studies with a particular focus on the connections between literature and visual art.
Our current exhibition The Artefacts Project by Lorcan Walshe represents a search for artistic and cultural roots in a period when national narratives were being challenged and reconfigured as a result of an increasingly diverse Irish society. Lorcan Walshe explores the idea of whether or not we can have unmediated access to the past and emphasises that our reading of the past always involves an act of translation. Walshe seeks to translate the Irish Medieval Artefacts through the process of painting and drawing.
The work of Dublin-based Walshe is particularly engaged with the relationship between inscription in its broadest sense and the visual image. His exhibition The Artefacts Project, originally displayed in the National Museum of Ireland in 2007, engages with Ireland’s precolonial past in search of personal artistic as well as broader cultural roots during a period when national narratives were being challenged and reconfigured as a result of an increasingly diverse Irish society.
The Artefacts Project reflects on whether the art of the precolonial past can still be read in a meaningful way in a postcolonial present in which Ireland finds itself part of a globalised world. Reaching out across the chasm of history, Walshe’s works emphasise that our reading of the past must always involve an act of translation in order to retain significance in the present: the meaning of the artefact is created anew as it is translated not only from one historical moment into another but also from one artistic medium into another.
Dr Otto posits that Walshe’s The Artefacts Project questions the hierarchical division between writing and the visual image by reading the artefacts of Ireland’s past as visual texts. In this context, drawing and painting themselves emerge as forms of inscription that are part of a process of reading and acts of translation. As a result, the artefact becomes a palimpsest of translations and inscriptions.
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