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Alanna O'Kelly, b.1955

Chant Down Greenham1984

The artist has described the making of Chant Down Greenham as follows: “‘This was a seminal work. It came out of a moment when many of us from Ireland gathered at the women’s peace camp, nuclear missile base at Greenham Common (1983), England. The protest ‘Sounds Around the Base’ had 30,000 to 50,000 women surrounding the 9-mile perimeter fence all making sounds on the hour every hour.

There I heard a small group of women keening. I was very struck by this. It was moving, powerful. Back in my studio on Gardiner Street, Dublin my work changed. I changed. It became necessary to use my voice and my body. 

Though the equipment was basic or non-existent, it happened, and was essential and seemed vital. I developed a series of calls and out of silence the ‘caoin’ emerged. With the prompt and help of women artist friends I understood something really important and necessary there. I understood I had to pursue this.”

Mediumrecorded on 1/4 inch analogue tape, transferred to digital format
DimensionsDuration: 9min.10 sec.
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 2021, 2021
Item NumberIMMA.4223
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Image Caption
Alanna O'Kelly, Chant Down Greenham, 1984, recorded on 1/4 inch analogue tape, transferred to digital format, Duration: 9min.10 sec., Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 2021, 2021

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

Alanna O'Kelly b.1955

Irish artist Alanna O'Kelly's practice incorporates sculpture, performance, slide installation and film. Influenced by feminist politics, O’Kelly explores ideas of the psychic conflicts of our shared history and the continuity of tradition.
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