Political Landscape

by Donnelly, Ann

2007

Exhibition
Figuring Landscapes

The conflicted landscape of Northern Ireland is revealed through the moving history of a family whose vicissitudes intersect with wider historical and political events. Boundaries reveal dispossession as much as land management and the artist asks: “What is native; what is original?”

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This work examines the relationship between location, history and identity in the rural landscape of County Down, Northern Ireland. Does it really make a difference where you live? Where you come from? What makes us identify with a particular piece of land and call it home? Where I live, a patchwork of hedges, ditches and fields covers drumlin hills. It is a parochial landscape – small scale and rural – and yet field boundaries and settlement configurations show traces of mighty territorial struggles over the centuries. This video interprets Northern Ireland’s conflicted landscape from the perspective of personal family history. In a place where successive generations of the same family have left their mark, it explores the idea of roots and belonging and asks by implication: what is native; what is original? In a wider historical context, bound¬aries, which mark ownership can also signify dispossession.They are scars left by the political forces, which uproot and resettle individuals, families, even entire populations and ultimately change the face of the earth. It all depends which side of the fence you

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