Marianne Keating

Marianne Keating
3 to 30 August

My research addresses the hidden histories of the Irish diaspora in Jamaica through narratively reconstructing this history through its archival traces. I address fragmented identities via archival and postcolonial frames and the creolisation of the Irish in Jamaica and their resulting legacies of the Irish diaspora in Jamaica.

Through my practice-based research, I explore and trace the multiple trajectories of the Irish migration to Jamaica and the Caribbean during Ireland's colonial rule by Britain, focusing on the movement of Irish indentured labours from 1835 to 1842 and their resulting legacies on contemporary Jamaica.

Tracing this hidden history of the Irish diaspora through official government documents at the Irish, English and Jamaican National Archives, through the visual and material culture left behind and new oral histories, I have begun to reconstruct this history through all its archival traces.

Through the examination of unrecorded, private and disregarded histories - my multi-disciplinary approach to the research, the archival record and the archival image questions the legitimacy of the Archive and falsification, or lack, within the recorded image and text. I intend to determine new historical narratives in response to the dominant "master narratives" of Western nationhood, identity and culture, rewriting the histories of the dominated "Other" and returning a voice, which once was rendered mute.

Having completed extensive research in archives in Ireland, England, Jamaica, and Barbados, I have traced the paths of this migration. From their Irish recruitment, the ports from which they departed to their arrival in Jamaica, the plantations on which they worked to the present day where I have interviewed their descendants in contemporary Jamaica, I find I am still missing part of the Irish narrative.

For my residency at Uillinn, I aim to expand upon this research by investigating an unexplored area within my practice-based research into the Irish towns and villages from which Irish Indentured labours for Jamaica came. Over the years, I have been told that there are local records/ oral histories of people from Skibbereen who migrated to Jamaica. Extensive research at the Cork City and County archives has not revealed any information regarding this. Still, I have often found that history lives on in local knowledge and memory, and it is these archival impulses that I am looking to explore during my time at Uillinn.

During my residency at Uillinn, I will also be developing a script, and sourcing film locations, which will become a vital part of the material for developing a new film An Imeacht - The Departure, to be told as Gaeilge.

Marianne Keating is an artist and researcher, based in Ireland and London. She graduated with an MA from the Royal College of Art, London, and a BA from Limerick School of Art and Design and a practice-based PhD at the University of Kingston, UK.

She was recently shortlisted to represent Ireland in the 2022 Venice Biennial. Recent exhibitions include: Black Tower Projects, London (2020); the Crawford Art Gallery, Ireland (2019); RAMPA, Portugal (2019); Stanley Picker Gallery, London (2019); South London Gallery, London (2019); Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Barbados (2018).

Upcoming exhibitions include: Jaou Tunis, Tunisia. Winter 2021, Whitechapel Gallery, London, Summer 2022

Awards include: Arts Council Ireland Project Award (2021); Arts Council Ireland Bursary Award (2020); Archives of Us Commission, Cork City Council and Creative Ireland (2019); Percent for Art Commission, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Cork City Council (2019); Arts Council England Project Award (2019) Irish Arts Council Travel & Training Award (2019 & 2017)

Residencies include: ACME Fire Station, London, Residency Award (2020- 2025); The Beach House Residency, Montego Bay Jamaica (2018, 2017, 2015 & 2013), The Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France (2012), The Centre for Fine Print Research UWE, Bristol UK (2010), Druckswerkstatt, Kulturwerk des bbk, Berlin, Germany (2009) and Lower East Side Printshop, Manhattan, New York, USA (2007).

Collections include the Office of Public Works, Ireland; the Royal College of Art, London; Norlinda and José Lima Collection, Portugal; Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, GA, United States of America; Palazzo Fogazzaro, Vicenza, Italy.

WCAC acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council and Cork County Council in making these residencies possible.


Images: Land Path of Migration, The Ocean Between, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork. 2019, photo © Jed Niezgoda, Courtesy of Crawford Art Gallery, Cork. 
Better Must Come- A New Jamaica, The Moon Is Right Over My Head, Black Tower Projects, London. 2020, photo © Black Tower Projects, London
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