During the past few years, a programme of special commemorative events has taken place to mark the centenary of key historical events in Irish history.
To commemorate the Decade of the Centenaries, Mayo County Council Arts Service, in partnership with the Jackie Clarke Collection, invited submissions for a special artist's residency, working with artefacts in the museum relating to this period. Mayo County Council’s Arts Service has announced that Achill born Margo McNulty, is the recipient of the prestigious Decade of Centenaries Artist Residency.
Her commission, entitled, Keepsakes, will involve uncovering examples of ‘personal objects’, mementoes or stories relating to the period of the War of Independence, the Treaty, and Civil War. The artist is hoping to stimulate interest and involvement of local people, families and communities in the county or the Mayo diaspora living abroad who have been the beneficiaries of these mementos.
McNulty said: "I am interested in finding examples of ‘keepsakes’ or objects handed down to family members, which have particular meaning, memories or stories attached to them that talk to this turbulent period at a local and family level.
"I am hopeful that the project may promote a deeper understanding of the impact of the events that took place over 100 years ago on Mayo people and families.
"Family keepsakes, in the form of tangible objects, are the containers of the lived first-hand experiences of Mayo people during this turbulent period.
"These material objects often reveal the interweaving of personal and public histories and can unlock memory and meaning. Individuals and families are the keepers and custodians of that lived experience, which are sometimes embodied in these keepsakes."
McNulty is confident of finding families or individuals who have handed down these keepsakes because of their special meaning. She is also looking forward to the outcome of collaboration between the Jackie Clarke Collection and historical societies throughout the county in an effort to locate local examples of keepsakes. She added: "Some of the keepsakes may be military artefacts while others may be more personal keepsakes related to the same period of turbulence." The residency will culminate with a publicly accessible artwork in November 2021.