One of five Traveller Wellbeing Through Creativity projects, an initiative developed by Creative Ireland, the Healthy Ireland Programme, the HSE, the National Social Inclusion Office and the Arts Council, the Through Our Eyes exhibition takes place at Photo Museum Ireland from 3rd–30th November and features selected photographs from the project.
Identity, wellbeing and pride
A stand-up comedian, theatre maker, photographer, writer, poet, journalist, mental health and Traveller LGBT+ advocate, Martin Beanz Warde collaborated with nine participants from the Traveller Community from across Ireland to make a series of photographs that respond to themes of identity and wellbeing.
The project approach saw Martin meet and photograph each participant, while also requesting that they take a picture themselves. Their photos give unique insight into the participants’ own particular perspectives on a range of ideas, from hopes, dreams and happiness, to freedom and security.
The arresting images of participants Winnie Ward, Patrick McDonagh, Chantelle Stokes, Emma Ward, Timmie Casey, Thomas Connors, Martin Ward, Helena Power and Emily Evans, all aged from 19 to 36 years old, go beyond stereotypical or nostalgic representations. Instead they present a contemporary portrait that celebrates Traveller individuality, reflecting their pride in their culture.
Complexity and creativity
A combination of Martin’s formal portraits and the participants’ own photographs, Through Our Eyes presents diverse perspectives and gives unparalleled insight into individual Traveller identities, allowing for complexity and nuance.
The project highlights the role of Travellers as diverse, creative individuals and addresses wider perspectives to raise awareness of Traveller culture as a valuable, dynamic and embedded part of life in contemporary Ireland.
A Photo Museum Ireland project in partnership with the Open Doors Initiative, experts on social inclusion, artist Warde is receiving curatorial, training and production support during this six-month pilot project. Anthony Haughey has also worked with Martin as the artist’s peer mentor.