Susan McKeown, the winner of IrishCentral's 2018 Anam Award, brings #IAmIrish to New York as part of the Cuala NYC Festival. 

An exhibit that explores the diverse face of Irishness has opened in the New York Irish Center after much success in its London counterpart.

#IAmIrish is a campaign which was sparked as a result of a persisting lack of representation of the mixed race Irish experience, created by Tipperary-native Lorraine Maher. 

 As the only black person in her area when she was growing up, Maher launched the project to represent the mixed race Irish experience and to question the concept of “Irishness” and what that means for us as we seek to celebrate and encourage a diverse representation of being Irish.   

Maher collaborated with photographer Tracey Anderson to make an intimate study of the faces, lives and experiences of 22 mixed race Irish people. Further New-York mixed-race Irish faces were added to the collection for the New York show, which was launched by Director of the New York Irish Center Paul Finnegan and musician, singer and founder of the Cuala Foundation, Susan McKeown, on November 8. 

Read more: Think all Irish people should look like Ed Sheeran? Meet the people proving you wrong

Great event last week @NYIrishCenter hosted by Paul Finnegan and @susansings, here interviewing photographer Lorraine Maher via Skype about the Irish and racial diversity. Exhibition continues. @IrelandinNY @CualaNYC @laviedeaaron @FrancesMulraney @Iamblirish pic.twitter.com/GeZqYNg1LO

— Peter McDermott (@pmcdnyc) November 21, 2018

“For mixed race Irish people, in reality, our ancestry, our roots, our blood are Irish and we are proud of it," Maher states. 

Although unable to travel from London for the launch, Maher was able to engage in a Q&A via Skype, showing for the first time a new campaign video which asks why mixed race Irish have been whitewashed out of history. 

"#IamIrish is growing to become an international movement which explores perceptions of Colour, Culture, Identity & Heritage and embraces the collective experience of Irish heritage in all its diversity," the video description writes. 

"As the journey unfolds, we’ve begun collecting stories from the people we connect with along the way – each story shared adding another unique perspective to the richness of Irish heritage. You can visit our growing collection of stories on the website iamirish.org."

#IAmIrish is being presented in New York as part of the Cuala NYC Festival, which aims to transform lives by learning, creating and celebrating culture together. Founded by Grammy-award winner Susan McKeown, the festival aims to lift up the voices of forgotten communities, running programs for young people in Ireland and the U.S.

Read more: Announcing Grammy-Award winner Susan McKeown as IrishCentral’s Anam Award recipient

You can find more information on the full festival in the video, below, but some of the main highlights include a Teanga (Irish language) shebeen, a Women's Shebeen and a LGBTQ shebeen. 

#IAmIrish as part of CualaNYC at New York Irish Center

CualaNYC is back!

Publiée par CualaNYC sur Mardi 20 novembre 2018

To request a viewing time for #IAmIrish please either email iamirish@newyorkirishcenter.org or call  718 482 0909.  

Have you already visited #IAmIrish? Let us know what you thought in the comments section below. 

Lorraine Maher speaking via Skype with Cuala NYC founder Susan McKeown. New York Irish Center