Recent Graduate of NCAD, 2018.
Fine Art Paint.
Lives and works in Dublin.
These paintings question the dual reality for Syrian refugees: they arrive and are wrapped in silver foil on the shores of their new country, yet they are nonetheless hidden in plain sight.
The Syrian refugees are a people who have lost their autonomy and their relevance. Their homeland was famed for ornately crafted ceramics, metalwork, and carpets as well as embroidered silks; a long way from the new dress code which requires at first a life jacket, and later a foil survival blanket. This flimsy covering reflects and refracts their new surroundings so that they become a part of the new landscape, as they are corralled into makeshift camps, for the most part unwanted and ignored; and because of the covering they now wear, effectively invisible.
The choice of these refugees as subject matter is to try to illustrate the wider state of being on the margins of society, and to create a discussion about the plight of these people, as well as the kind of society that creates this crisis.
So how does it feel to be invisible: to be present and yet unacknowledged? It is this ambiguity that creates the tension in the relationship between the refugees and their new reality. I have sought to deepen this ambiguity by deliberately deconstructing the images of the refugees and replacing them with an impression, a tonal rendering made with a reduced palette, a dissolved version of a composition, and a distorted sense of location, so that the figures metamorphose into the background.
I have used these shimmering flimsy coverings because I believe the survival blanket is a dual metaphor; it is offered to refugees, implying a welcome, while at the same time rendering them forgotten and ignored; and, ultimately, invisible.