Statement of Intent

Michael Hayes FRPS application.
Michael Hayes Membership 123978
Assessment date: 17/7/2021

Deconstruction of abuse suffered by Irish females in the 1950’s and 60’s

Ireland was an oppressive place to live in the 1950s and ‘60s if you were poor.
Poverty was commonplace and the Roman Catholic Church dominated education, teenage detention centres and orphanages.
Beatings and rape were common place, and have eventually come to light and been publicly acknowledged.

Victims were abandoned both male and female, their lifetime marked by chronic abuse and despair.

My work interprets their bleak existence and its unspeakable consequences.

Presented as 4 sequential sets of 5 images.

The first set conveys the damaging legacy of the Church:  female exclusion, empty eternal promises, curtailment of self-expression, hypocrisy re temptation, grief.

While appearing calm to observers, solitude, anger, avoiding closeness, self-criticism and dissociation was palpable in the next stage of their lives.

As abuse continued as represented in the third set of images, unhappiness, addictions, panic, mental illnesses, and shame, took a toll.

The final set represents tragically, with depression untreated, self-harm,  institutionalising, suicide, physical illness, and death was their final step.

May this serve as a tribute to remind ourselves this should never happen again.

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