People power with Clodagh Emoe

Clodagh Emoe's first workshop in Hartstown Community school began with a brilliant talk that covered a selected history of the collective in art and politics. It touched on The French Revolution (liberté, égalité, fraternité), The Situationists and their rejection of consumer culture through gesture and action in public space, The Proclamation  - its typography and the performance of it being read aloud by Padraig Pearse (or was it Tom Clarke?), the 1965 Selma march and the poetic language used by Martin Luther King in his famous speech. Clodagh also spoke of how she became aware of the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s through both music (The Specials' 'Free Nelson Mandela' and United Artists Against Apartheid's 'Sun City') and her own parents refusal to buy from Dunnes Stores as a show of solidarity with the striking workers protesting against the sale of South African produce - and how the actions of these workers touched the imprisoned Nelson Mandela in South Africa.  Finally, she spoke about the Guerilla Girls and their artistic actions against the gender inequality of the artworld.  

All these edifying stories of creativity and people power provided the platform for the next part of the workshop where the students discussed what societal issue they would like to collectively address. Students shared thoughts on lack of provisions for disaffected youth,  abortion laws, poor hospital service, and the rising costs of 'free' education. Using a secret ballot they voted to choose one of these issues to address in the creation of a piece of collaborative artwork in next week's workshop.