'MARIAN THREAD', 2013
A COLLABORATIVE INTERNATIONAL PROJECT
Visualizing Ireland: Homage to Otherness The Institute of Global Irish Studies, University of NSW, Sydney, Australia
In this practice led research project, artists Annemarie Murland and Kiera O'Toole collaborate on the complexities of Marian Theology as a framework for examining female sexual identity which are shaped by irish and scottish cultural narratives and personal experience as mediators of exchange, the duo explore the Mary story through their respective art practice. The Marian Thread began with project one entitled Homage to Otherness.
In re-imagining the Mary figure, the work sought to broaden my understanding of the profound effect her image holds for me and draw, literally and figuratively speaking, draw my story into the Marian Thread narrative. French literary theorist and psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva observes that if the Marian image is the solitary sacrosanct representation of ‘femininity’ in Western society, then how does the image of the Virgin Mary impact of sexuality and femininity? Mary, as the immaculate prototype for femininity, is grossly insufficient to describe personal experiences as it relates to gender and sexuality, experiences of rape, miscarriage, caesarian and motherhood and the life wounds and battle scars such bodily knowledge’s leave behind. Can the Virgin Mary become, and I quote Irish writer Colm Tobin on his controversial book, the Testament of Mary, to become “fully human” so Mary as icon becomes an entity that can resonate for me as female today? Interrogation of Marinaism is decoded through fault-lines in the intimate relationship between Mary and myself by means of a material dialogue to become the site for an intercession between self in place, femininity and the Blessed Virgin Mary.