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Alanna O'Kelly, b.1955

Sanctuary/Wasteland1994

Alanna O’Kelly’s piece ‘Sanctuary/Wasteland refers to Teampall Dumhach Mhor, or ‘Church of the Great Sandbank’ at Thallabhawn, County Mayo, which lies on the edge of an estuary between Mweelrea Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean. This site was a monastic settlement from the 6th century and a famine burial ground in the 19th century. Known as ‘The Sanctuary’ to 17th century mapmakers, it was referred to as ‘The Wastelands’ by local people in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Constant erosion is dissolving the site and the storms of recent years have reduced the mound to a third of its original mass. This dissolution is used as a metaphor for the resolution of the psychic conflicts of our history. O’Kelly employs a slow-moving vocabulary of film close-ups and an undercurrent of sombre sounds that reduce the famine’s emotional extremes – hope and despair, loss and recovery.

MediumVideo
DurationDimensions variable
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 1997
Item NumberIMMA.745
Not on view
Tags
Image Caption
Alanna O'Kelly, Sanctuary/Wasteland, 1994, Video, Dimensions variable, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 1997

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: info@imma.ie.

About the Artist

Alanna O'Kelly b.1955

Irish artist Alanna O'Kelly (born 1955) attended the National College of Art and Design and the Slade School of Art, London. Her 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. O’Kelly’s work has featured in major group and solo exhibitions since the 1980s. She represented Ireland at the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1996. — View Artist »