WHAT (the Waterford Healing Arts Trust) starts its 2016 programme of public events with a presentation by artist and writer Alan Counihan of Personal Effects,  his ground-breaking, artistic exploration of institutional care for the mentally ill based on the belongings of dead / discharged patients. This event will take place Tuesday, 26 January 2016 in the WHAT Centre, Waterford.

The Personal Effects Project is an ongoing work by Alan Counihan that began as an exploration of the personal effects of dead or discharged patients of Grangegorman Mental Hospital which were discovered in an attic of that institution in 2010. The fruit of that research and exploration was exhibited as a multi-media installation that was first shown in 2014 at the Long Stores of St Brendan’s Hospital, Grangegorman, Dublin.

In the words of Alan Counihan: ‘Following two years of research and development, this installation was created in response not only to the possessions discovered within the hospital complex but also to their possessors who were in turn possessed by the institution for the duration of their care. The work also responds to the official archival records of the Richmond Asylum, latterly St Brendan’s Hospital, and to the history of institutional care for the mentally ill in Ireland as a whole.’

This project has now expanded to include the legacy of five other asylums in the south-east of Ireland through the support of a 2015 Artlinks Bursary Award. Alan has received several other substantial grants and awards including, twice, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award. A radio documentary, Ghosts of Grangegorman, based on the Personal Effects Project was broadcast on RTE Radio in September 2015.

A working artist since 1990, much of Alan Counihan’s early work was created in the public realm in the USA, UK and Ireland. In works that engage with place, communities and the resonance of human habitation, he creates site-specific responses to public spaces or landscapes. He also maintains a studio-based practice creating works for exhibitions and installations in gallery and non-gallery contexts in Ireland and abroad. http://www.alancounihan.net/

This event will begin at 5.15pm on Tuesday 26 January 2016 in the WHAT Centre in the grounds of University Hospital Waterford. The talk will be preceded by a wine reception.

Admission: Free to WHAT members. €10 for non-members. Membership costs €10 per annum. See http://www.waterfordhealingarts.com/get-involved/

To book your place: Phone 051 842664 or email WHAT@hse.ie.



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