Still, We Work

National Women’s Council of Ireland’s Legacy Project: Representations of Women’s Work.
  October 2013

© Miriam O’Connor from the series The Legacy Project 2013

National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) is delighted to present STILL, WE WORK, an exhibition featuring artists Sarah Browne, Vagabond Reviews, Miriam O’Connor and Anne Tallentire. The exhibition has been devised as part of NWCI’s Legacy Project developed by project curator Valerie Connor for NWCI to mark their 40th anniversary year and is funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies. The artists were asked to reflect on contemporary representations of women’s work in the context of the centenary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout. They have responded by making new works addressing women’s experience of precarious contemporary working conditions and the invisibility of much of ‘women’s work’.

From, in and with by Anne Tallentire consists of a 24 etched wood panels & 24 c-type photographs in a self-contained box. These correspond with 24 specially commissioned ‘100 word’ texts in the exhibition publication by women working in architecture: Ruth Morrow, Jane Rendell, Gráinne Hassett, Ellen Rowley, Culturstruction and Alice Casey – they describe photographs (we are never shown) of buildings located between the NWCI offices and the site of Jacob’s biscuit factory in 1913, where locked out women remained on strike the longest.

The Legacy Project by Miriam O’Connor comprises a unique exhibition print and an 80-page Photobook that includes images of workspaces used by NWCI and member groups, including some that struggle for media visibility and operate in a very transient way, meeting in improvised settings. The artist also looked at photographs kept by NWCI – some taken for PR purposes and others taken more informally by members at events and gatherings.

Peripherals by Sarah Browne features reflections of the economy and language of women’s work in a short video with a scripted a voice over and professional hand model. We see her handle small sculptures made of aluminium, silicone, glass, and scented soap: recognisably things women handle in the course of a day’s work. The artist’s pages in the exhibition publication draw on further ideas about the embodiment of certain kinds of work by women.

The (In)Visible Labour Factorium by Vagabond Reviews (artist Ailbhe Murphy and researcher Ciaran Smyth), is a collection of texts with photographs that have been made for or shared during ‘visibility clinics’ held in Dublin, Donegal and Limerick. The next will take place in Galway. Working with small groups from NWCI members they uncover facts otherwise overlooked by mainstream evidence based research and record them as a series of photo-text panels. As the exhibition travels, more additions will be organised.

An 80-page publication features additional material by the artists designed to ‘work’ with the other elements on show in the exhibition, a foreword by Orla O’Connor, Director NWCI and introduction by Valerie Connor, Legacy Project Curator.

Photograph of the book: Making Space by Noel Bowler that accompanies the exhibition held at the Gallery of Photography Dublin in 2013.

Cover of the book “Still we work” that accompanies the exhibition held at the Gallery of Photography Dublin in 2013.

Photograph of the book "The Legacy Project" by Miriam O'Connor that accompanies the exhibition held at the Gallery of Photography Dublin in 2013.

Cover of the book “The Legacy Project” by Miriam O’Connor that accompanies the exhibition held at the Gallery of Photography Dublin in 2013.