A number of simultaneous artistic performances were staged around the country, as well as in London, yesterday, to highlight Ireland’s restrictive laws on abortion.
Coinciding with St Bridget’s Day, the reading events by artists, activists, and supporters were designed to illustrate the affect that denial of access to abortion in Ireland has on those who seek such services and to encourage the removal of the eighth amendment to the Constitution.
The public performances were held in Colbert railway station in Limerick; Connolly Station, Dublin; King’s Cross Station in London; Paul St, Cork; Maynooth University, Kildare, and Shop St, Galway.
Described as a ‘Renunciation’, the performances were held simultaneously at 6.01pm, immediately following the traditional time for the ringing of the evening Angelus bells.
The readings echoed the rhythm and structure of the Hail Mary prayer.
“The Renunciation is, respectfully, an intervention in the reflective space offered by the modern-day Angelus,” said the organisers.
“This work contains a set of stories that describe a set of social rituals for twelve-plus people from Ireland seeking abortions daily. Read aloud, the verses publicly present uncensored insights into real experiences.”
It is a production by home/work, an initiative that collectively confronts censorship through art and public performance.
“The Renunciation challenges the double standards dictated by idealised notions of womanhood and mothering that ignore present day realities and less-than-ideal circumstances.”
The contents are based on legal cases and anecdotes shared with the producers of the home/work collective.
Last November, the Renunciation was performed as part of an evening of spoken work in the Project Arts Centre in Dublin as part of The Bram Stoker Festival.
Home/work and The Renunciation emerged from research undertaken by artist Siobhán Clancy with activist members of the Abortion Rights Campaign. It is funded under The Arts Council Artist in the Community Scheme. Videos, images and audio from the performances are being shared on Twitter. For more information see homeworkcollective.tumblr.com and abortionrightscampaign.ie.
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