Interview with Artist Aideen Barry – Culture Night
Culture Night comes but once a year! It is next Friday, the 21st of Sept. We got to ask artist Aideen Barry about her involvement with Culture night and also her career as an artist. You can see the results below. All images by Aideen Barry, you can find out more about her work here.
What is your involvement in Culture night?
I have been invited to be one of this year’s Culture Night Ambassadors or “Trailblazers”. This year I will be not straying too far from my new home in Tipperary. I will be giving a talk and part-taking in a series of conversations around “the body” at Damer House in Roscrea.
I’ve heard a number of people saying that Culture is not just for one night, but for all year around! What would your response to this be?
Yes. Culture is not just for one night, its for every moment of our existence. Culture is who we are, and who we are going to be. It’s something that should be cherished, nurtured and celebrated, not just for one night, but for every day of the year. Culture Night is an example of an ideal social contract where the people of this country can enjoy, explore, and appreciate our culture whilst also recognizing the benefit of the world we live in because of these amazing cultural productions and manifestations.
When did you first decide you wanted to be an artist?
I have always known I wanted to be an artist, though maybe not always had the language to convey my identity as an artist. One of the things I think we got right as a country was the ability to enter a publicly funded gallery without having to pay an admittance fee. As someone from a working class background this meant you were not hindered by monetary limitations to access really great art. I was able to walk in off the street to art galleries, museums and centres of artistic practice at a young age growing up in Cork City, these places were a haven and a home. They gave me the rudimentary language of creativity and a space of daydream and acceptance.
Was there a particular teacher that inspired you?
I have had so many amazing teachers, too many to name. In fact I still feel I am still learning and in particular I learn from access to culture. I have always been astonished by the generosity of Irish Artists. Culture Night is no exception to this for it is because of these Artists Culture Night happens, and it something that should be recongnised and in turn appreciated and supported.
Your own work seems to be very distinctive. How do you start your process of creating a new work?
I start at the place of the hidden or the forgotten. Often this is involves looking at history, at art history or literature and in particular the erasure of historical contributions by Women, people from communities on the periphery or those who have been “Other-ed” or excluded from the canon, from historical fact. Truth is a very fragile thing and so I try to explore the nature of Truth and Fiction. A lot of my work is performance to camera, where I undergo extraordinary transformation or commitments to achieve the most absurd situation. I use humour as a way of talking about some of these dark subjects as I feel that it has a great way of disarming the viewer and provoking exchange and debate.