Active Forgetting: Tuam. Using film, print and sound with the director Grace Sexton it involves analogue and digital film, photography, sound and printmaking in an exploration of the trauma and longlasting effects of the Tuam controversy. My brother is one of the 796 born in this establishment whose remains were found in a sewer adjacent to the home in 2014, my mother was incarcerated at Bon Secours in Tuam in the late 1940’s. In this work I am exploring the intergenerational repercussions within families of victims of these homes and the continued exploitation and repression of survivors and victims. The prints below are the first exploration of this theme which I have titled Erasure. They are etchings with chine colle. The chine colle are painted fragments some of which are lithographic washes on Japanese paper, some are mono printed and ink painted, suminagashi marbling and elements of typography. This work was made at at AGA LAB in Amsterdam during my Pushing the Margins Residency November 2020 - February 2021.
Etching and chine colle with oak gall pigment. Oak gall was used in the earliest manuscripts from the 5th to 19th centuries. Oak galls grow when a gall wasp lays and egg into a puncture on the underside of an oak leaf. As the larva develops, the tree secretes tannic and gallic acids, creating a round formation known as a gall nut or oak apple. To make the ink these are smashed with a hammer to make hard fragments then put into a jar and rainwater added, after a few days the water darkens as the tannic acid is released. Oak gall has a high tannin content and its this feature that lead to their use in the manufacture of ink. I mixed the oak gall with gum arabic and added copperas ( ferrous sulphate) which changes and darkens on exposure to air..