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Using objects found around your home (recycled packaging and paper cut outs), create a scene filled with strange and intriguing characters. You can use sticky tape to bind things together and tin foil to mould into any shape you want. Let your imagination run wild with arranging your piece. None of this has to look real!

Once you are finished, place the objects on a table or a box in front of a wall where you can play with them undisturbed for some time. Make sure to place your characters on different levels; higher, lower, and in the middle, using things like boxes, jars, or books as supports. When you are happy with your scene, you can turn off the lights and use a torch to shine light on it. You may move the torch around to find the best angle for the projection of shadows on the wall. Just watch the shadows and silhouettes grow bigger or shrink away as you move around the torch.

Your theatre of shadows is now ready; it can be used as the starting point for making up a story with your family or friends. You can gradually add new characters or move the existing ones around to create new shadows and new stories, or you could take out your drawing pad and draw the shadow characters. Have fun!

This week’s Explorer at Home was developed as a response to Janet Mullarney’s Another Minds Eye.

Irish artist Janet Mullarney (1952-2020), used a wide variety of materials and mediums, working with sculpture, painting, video, and installation to build an imaginarium filled with fantastical creatures often referencing religion, theatrical space and human relationships. Her solo exhibition at IMMA in 2019 included the installation Another Minds Eye.

Finally please share your results, your experiments, and artworks with the hashtag #ExploreratHome


About the Artist

Janet Mullarney 1952–2020

Irish artist Janet Mullarney attended the Accademia di Belle Arti and Scuola Professionale di Intaglio, Florence. Incorporating a range of materials including bronze, wood, plaster, foam, cloth, glass and wax, her dynamic sculptural works reference religious iconography, art history and human relationships. Mullarney’s work is represented in public collections including that of the Arts Council, the OPW, and Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane.

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