25 October 2020 is the centenary of the death of Terence MacSwiney (1879-1920), Lord Mayor of Cork, playwright and politician. Following his arrest for being in possession of a police cipher, MacSwiney’s seventy-four day hunger strike gripped international press and political agendas. Citizen Nowhere / Citizen Somewhere focuses on the legacy of his hunger strike and death, and the idea of nation as an imagined state to which MacSwiney’s own essays, Principles of Freedom, aspired.
As Hammad Nassar commented recently in Cork, ‘our current political discourse of citizen of nowhere and citizen of somewhere can be a poisonous and a troubling dichotomy’ and the exhibition will also proffer, through the work of contemporary artists, the idea of nation as an imagined state from being citizen of nowhere, under direct rule or as a refugee, to being a citizen of somewhere after liberation and the complexities that it can bring. The exhibition comprises works by artists including Margaret Clarke, Anthony Haughey, Elaine Hoey, John Lavery, and Gustave Metzger, documentation, reproductions and source material from events surrounding MacSwiney’s hunger strike and works drawn from Crawford Art Gallery, TATE and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.