Michele O'Connor Connolly

Michele O'Connor Connolly
They Came To Me

3 July to 31 August 2024

Studio open on Tuesday and Wednesday, 12 noon to 2:00pm

Artist Talk: PART 1. 1pm Friday 2nd August. Michele O Connor Connoll and Hanna Bäckmo Bee Advocate.

Artist Talk: PART 2. 2pm Saturday 3rd August. Michele O Connor Connolly and Mairéad Love.

Coming out of Creative hibernation, since the 1st Covid lockdown 12/03/22, I went underground, withdrew from all creative and artistic visibility. Stopped using Social Media, allowed my online presence to lapse into non-existence. Then I got a visit from a swarm of bees in June 2022. They came to me. I wanted to talk about them, bring them into the studio. This residency is an opportunity to reconsider my practice and connect with artists and people and re establish my online presence. No man is an Island. With Thanks to WCAC and Arts Council.

The concerns in my practice have always centred on our environment. I consider the impact our human relationship with our collective ecosystem as a functional – non-functional (destructive) super-organism has on our collective home, planet earth in the Anthropscene. My practice insists on a continual interrogation of the relationship between species. Exploring ways through artistic encounters of connecting through Cross-species kinship, a greater understanding and respect for others (all species) and seeing in a new way.

I am exploring my relationship with Irish Native Honey Bees Apis mellifera mellifera, commonly known as Irish Black Bees. The Bees Came to Me, one beautiful day in June 2022, we lived along side each other for some time. I was humbled by their presence. I felt a real connection with this extraordinary species. I have continued to develop my relationship with the bees through engaging and learning and now, bring this new encounter into my practice putting a spotlight on seeing, that which is otherwise un-seen.

By contextualising and re-imaging an old Celtic Ritual of “Telling the Bees” conveying human grief and joy. I look forward to engaging with the public through studio visits and conversations to further develop this line of enquiry. Exploring in the Celtic Ritual the belief that the bees are a link between the spiritual and physical world. Telling the bees of a death or a loss in the family will help the deceased on their spiritual journey to the other world.

I am also exploring macro and microscopic images of bees and the environment the engage with. I will reconsider my practice and re connecting with a digitally based presence as I have removed all presence of myself online. I will take time to reconsider carefully what I would like to present to the world through the online environment.

With an ability to critically think through research, Michele works through ideas linking disparate spaces of knowledge from Folk Tradition, oral culture, critical theory and a direct engagement with the environment, through a collaborative and participatory model using drawing, painting, video, photography, sound, installation and performance. In her work she explores the tension between human living/existence alongside our natural environment.

Masters Degree in Arts & Humanities UCC 2015-16
MA Art & Process Residency Award CCAD 2014-15
Masters Degree in Art & Process CCAD 2013-14
BA (Hons) Degree in Visual Art DIT 2012-13
Exhibited in various group and solo shows

Agility Award R2 Arts Council of Ireland.

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

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