RHA Learning Event

Pluck @ RHA Presents: Women, Artists and The Institution
4 Sep 2020 - 20 Sep 2020

Feminist activism in the Irish art world has been a significant force since the 1980s when women artists mounted a challenge to the institutions that they felt had excluded them. Collectives such as the Women Artists’ Action Group argued that artists were not being recognized because of their gender by the museums and galleries that helped define Irish art in the popular imagination. Nearly forty years later, Abigail O’Brien, the first female president in the RHA’s almost 200 year history, reflected the ambitions of women’s artistic activism by foregrounding gender balance in her inaugural address. This echo is illustrative of the ways in which major institutions have absorbed activist demand into their own ways of thinking about themselves, leading them to instigate changes shaped by the challenges mounted against the establishment. In this series of seminars and screenings, Pluck Projects consider the legacies of the women’s movement in the Irish art world, and discuss not only the history of feminist challenge, but also how it has interacted with the interests and ambitions of artistic institutions.

The programme is as follows:

6pm, Friday 4 Sept 2020

Pluck Projects in conversation with Aideen Barry ARHA, Pauline Cummins and Eithne Jordan RHA.

Online via Zoom. Click here to book your ticket.

This discussion will consider feminist practice, women’s artistic activism and the institution from the perspective of three key contemporary practitioners.


7th – 13th September

Online film screening: Pauline Cummins – Becoming Beloved (1995) and recent works tbc

These screenings are accessible HERE


14th – 20th September

Online film screening: Aideen Barry ARHA – Not to be Known or Named (2015) and Enshrined (2016)

These screenings will be accessible on our website, www.rhagallery.ie/learn.


Date/time: TBC

Seminar: Speakers TBC

This seminar will consider a longer history of feminism in Irish art practice and the institutional landscape. Please visit our website or see our e-bulletin on Monday 21st of September for more information.

This series of events is the first part of a three year collaboration between Pluck Projects and the RHA at a moment when the RHA moves towards its 200th anniversary. This programme will consider the institution as a site of challenge, examining its inclusions and exclusions, how they shape what is considered to be art, and the ways in which these definitions have changed in our recent history.

Pauline Cummins’ performance and video work examines the human condition from a feminist perspective. She likes to collaborate with artists and communities in public sites and situations. A retrospective of her video work, Between One and Another, was held in CCI Paris 2012 where she and artist Sandra Vida performed, Sweeping Changes, in response to the Ryan Report on Institutional Abuse in Ireland. She has worked within prisons as a visiting artist and was the founding chairperson of the Women ́s Artist Action Group, (WAAG). Her performance as The Duchess of Leinster and as Lord Edward Fitzgerald, was part of ‘These Immovable Walls-performing Power’ Dublin Castle 2014 She was one of 16 selected visual art performers in ‘Future Histories’2016 at the historic Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin. Her early multimedia work Inis t·Oirr 1985 was a central installation in GAZE, IMMA 2019 and was also shown in Elliptical Affinities, Highlanes Gallery and in Limerick City Gallery 2020. She has performed internationally and her work is in the permanent collection of The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.

Pluck Projects is a curatorial collaboration founded by art historians Sarah Kelleher and Rachel Warriner that champions innovative work and seeks to reassess the histories of contemporary Irish art.

Image: Aideen Barry ARHA, still from ‘Enshrined’, performative film, 2015






This entry was posted in . Bookmark the permalink.