The annual PhotoIreland festival in Dublin began Sunday, centered around diaspora and migration and including 73 exhibitions around the city. The official opening of the month-long festival, at 7pm on Thursday, will take place at the Gallery of Photography in Meeting House Square.
The festival addresses both migration in the European Union and the Irish diaspora more specifically. Of the former, Moritz Neumüller, the festival’s curator, writes of national frontiers hardening within the EU in an attempt to halt the free movement of “non-communitarian migrants.” According to Neumüller, “While one historical iron curtain has fallen, other fences are reinforced, or even newly erected.”
The Irish Diaspora, Neumüller writes, “is another starting point for illustrating migration as a process of losing, rebuilding, defending and questioning one's own cultural identity,” to be understood not merely as emigration, but rather as encompassing a greater Irish “transnational community”.
Evelyn Hofer’s Dublin and Other Portraits premieres in Ireland at the official opening, with photographs taken in Dublin in 1966 exploring Ireland’s emerging modernization. Hilton Cramer, art critic for the New York Times, wrote of her earlier work: “Everything [Hofer] photographs acquires a high dignity.”
On Migration at Moxie Studios, from July 14-22, includes ten contemporary projects exploring the personal impacts of migration. The exhibition, which serves as the main curatorial address of the festival’s subject, features Dinu Li’s project Mother of All Journeys, 770 by Max Becher and Andrea Robbins, and Migracijos, a series by Ieva Baltaduonyte, among others.
David Monahan’s Leaving Dublin series captures migrants as they leave Ireland to seek better futures elsewhere. Presented at the National Photographic Archive alongside Maurice Gunning’s project documenting the Argentine Irish diaspora, the exhibition runs July 6-22, together telling two sides of the same story and exploring the impact of diaspora on emigrants, their adopted countries and their homelands.
This is the third year of PhotoIreland, a festival intended to celebrate both Irish and international photography. July 12 brings a symposium to discuss the role of photography to migration, in the context of the economic crisis, held by PhotoIreland in conjunction with the Dublin City Council Arts Office and GradCAM.