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.
|Credit Line||IMMA Collection: Purchase, 1997|
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