The Eighth Seal
MART Gallery, June 2017
The Eighth Seal reimagines the origins of the Sheela na Gig, ancient stone carvings scattered throughout Ireland and parts of England. Positioned above threshold spaces such as doorways and window openings, the Sheela is widely believed to have provided a symbolic reference for the liminal phases of birthing and dying. Over time these figures have been co-opted by patriarchal narratives and reframed as warnings against the sins of female lust. Prompted by the Repeal the Eighth movement In Ireland the work asks: How might symbols of ancient Ireland be recuperated as potent emblems for the present?
A fictional radio interview posits the existence of The Eighth Seal, a feminist movement that was conducting field research in the Boyne Valley in the 1980s. Esoteric and science fictional motifs permeate their logs, echoing the historical link between SF and social justice movements. A sound piece detailing one of these entries provides the backdrop for a performance. The installation, strewn with cushions and pamphlets, pays homage to feminist consciousness raising circles and conjures a site for gathering, invoking and psychic renewal. The Eighth Seal is a collaboration with aerial artist Emily Aoibheann.