Heartland / Hearth-land (2022)

This project is concerned with female members of the Irish diaspora living in England and is engaged with representational imagery and personal testimony from the Irish community ensuring the collective response to histories of migration. The women were photographed and interviewed about their experience of being Irish in London, their reasoning for emigrating and their thoughts about what home means to them. Interview questions were concerned with traditional ethnographic qualitative interview techniques, using unstructured interviews and prompts. The women were also interviewed about a particular object that had some significance to them and to Ireland. The women were filmed interacting with these objects, to show the haptic engagement of the subject with the object.

February 2019 – October 2020
London and the surrounding area
Photo-series of archival Giclée prints
Est. 16 x 12.5 in.

Est. edition 3 + 2 AP

Audio

Mary Duggan, photographed at home in Enfield

Brought over here, my parents went rushing back because my father had to join the army, even though it was peacetime by then.

Mary Duggan
Mary’s poetry works and other books, Enfield, London
Mairead’s father and neighbours before the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny and Waterford, late 1950s, archival family photograph
Mairead’s father and his secondary school class, archival family photograph
Mairead’s father in Switzerland, archival family photograph
Mairead, her uncle Sean and her father, archival family photograph
Still life of Mairead’s grandmother’s passport
Portrait of Mairead Ni Cheonin, Pimlico, March 2019

I feel like I’ve got very… I wouldn’t use the word split personality but the heart is split.

Mairead Ni Choenin
Victorian writing box

she pointed to the box, which was sitting on her dressing table and asked me to bring it over and then with quite a degree of formality handed it over to me but said “this is for you and Colin”

Breda Corish
Medals that were sent home to Ireland from Breda’s uncle who was a priest in Malta
Imitation bog oak locket that was taken to England from Ireland with a lock of hair in it
Breda’s handmade Repealed necklace, made on the occasion of the repealing of the 8th Amendment to the Consitution of Ireland, July 2016
Portrait of Breda Corish, taken in Walthamstow, March 2019
Still life of Kenyan statuette, brought back from Kenya by Helen’s uncle

And then when I went back, I asked my mother whether I could take a couple of statues with me. So I took this one and a bigger one that’s on the mantlepiece. And eh, yes, I suppose there’s a kind of connection, they’re my connection to Ireland, in a way.

Helen Healy
Portrait of Helen Healy, taken in Clerkenwell, May 2019

When I first came here, I thought I probably wouldn’t stay that long for some reason. I had this idea that I’d like to go to America and for a long time I was really interested in the idea of travelling to the United States.

Helen Healy
Portrait of Ciara MacFarland, taken in Walthamstow, July 2020
Ciara’s Claddagh ring

it never comes off, always stays on, it’s the one piece of jewellery I’ve never lost, I’ve lost all other pieces of jewellery. And I don’t wear any other jewellery, other than this ring. Em, and I think because it’s something between that came from my grandmother to my mother, to me

Ciara MacFarland
Portrait of Laura Haynes, taken in Leigh on Sea, July 2020
Triptych of portraits of Laura’s Celtic and 32-county republic tattoos