11 Sep 2019News

Quiet at the Back by Mandy O’Neill


Gallery of Photography is delighted to invite you and a guest to the official launch of Quiet at The Back, a new exhibition by Irish photographer Mandy O'Neill.

5pm Thursday 12th September
Elvis Has Left The Building - in conversation with artist Mandy O'Neill and curator and educator Valerie Connor.

6pm Thursday 12th September Exhibition officially launched by Máire O'Higgins, Chaplin, educator and member of the board of Encountering the Arts in Ireland. Refreshments will be served.

For over a decade, award-winning photographer Mandy O’Neill has engaged with children and young people in formal education contexts in primary and post-primary schools in central Dublin. O’Neill’s photographs have emerged through mix of formal residencies supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and more local arrangements in keeping with the dynamics of school life from year to year.

O’Neill’s exhibition Quiet At The Back brings together new and acclaimed work from the series’ Aspiration [2005-2007] Promise [2012-2015], Champions Avenue [2017-2019] and The Whole Room Went White [2019]. This is a timely reflection on O’Neill’s photographs of children and young people going to school through the decade most impacted by the austerity measures that followed the global financial crisis and Irish banking scandals.

Prompted by an interest in the transitional states of childhood and adolescence, over time complex questions have surfaced about how important and powerful ideas about having aspirations and access to opportunities can affect children and young people’s expectations. Most of the schools where O’Neill found and formed long-standing connections are part of the initiative known as DEIS, which was started in 2005 by the Department of Education as a way of ‘Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools’. The first year of the scheme coincided with the beginning of O’Neill’s ongoing work with children and young people. Quiet At The Back contemplates the place of school among the frameworks in place to support and nurture young lives through adolescence as they become adults.

At the same time Quiet At The Back is presented at the Gallery of Photography, a programme of workshops devised with students and staff at Larkin Community College will take place at the school. This concludes O’Neill’s time as Artist in Residence and will draw out students’ thoughts around photography, self-image and the impact of the online and social platforms for which photography is now routinely created, distributed and re-distributed