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Pride in Kilkenny 2021: Creative safe spaces for Irish LGBTQ artists

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Stephen Doyle in conversation with Una Mullally

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In 2020 Butler Gallery moved to its new location at Evans’ Home on John’s Quay, Kilkenny. This momentous occasion has afforded the gallery the chance to reach out beyond its walls to invite and welcome a vast array of communities and audiences to take part in a new chapter of life for the gallery. June is Pride month and to mark this special occasion the gallery is teaming up with Kilkennny Leader Partnership to programme a series of events and activities which will be just the start of a prolonged process of mutual cultural and artistic engagement with LGBTQ communities across Kilkenny and further afield.‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎

Irish LGBTQ communities often find their voices, both politically and culturally, through art and artists. In a post marriage equality Ireland, can we truly say that Irish society has moved from a position of so called ‘tolerance’ to full acceptance? What on-going debates need to be had and how can Irish arts institutions further support these discussions?

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Stephen Doyle: The work of Stephen Doyle is refreshing and timely in that it recognises and makes visible the sheer diversity of what it means to be LGBTQ in Irish society today. Stephen’s work questions and dismantles stereotyped concepts of what it might mean to be LGBTQ and opens up space for wider queer identities. Stephen is the gallery’s artist-in-residence for Pride and will create work that highlights the importance of recognising Irish LGBTQ diversity.

Stephen Doyle is a graduate of Crawford College of Art and Design and is the recipient of two International Art Prizes Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize and Sunny Art Prize. Stephen was shortlisted for the Zurich Portrait Prize (2018). Doyle makes portraits of LGBTQIA+ people, and often includes objects in the paintings, a gesture of ‘othering’ the art that mirrors the subject matter it investigates. Their work explores issues of queer identity through the relationship between figuration and the politics of representation.

Una Mullally is a writer from Dublin, Ireland. As a journalist she writes articles for newspapers, including columns - weekly for the Irish Times, and occasionally for the Guardian. Her articles have also appeared in Granta, the New York Times, and elsewhere. As an author she writes books such as In The Name Of Love (2014), an oral history of the marriage equality movement in Ireland, and the anthology Repeal the 8th (2018), which she edited. As a poet she writes poems, which she and others have performed in various places and at various times when and where poems are called for. As a screenwriter she co-writes films with Sarah Francis, two of which are in development with Screen Ireland. There are other things she does too, most of which relate to organising and contributing to things that appeal to her, with a view to feeling alive.

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Organiser Butler Gallery

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Inspiring culture seekers since 1943, the Butler Gallery is a not-for-profit organisation that is free of charge and open to the public six days a week year round. We offer our visitors contemporary exhibitions, which reflect the constantly changing nature of visual art practice. Providing a platform for the best of Irish art today and demonstrating a strong commitment to presenting work by artists of international repute, we aim to stimulate, inspire and challenge our audience. 

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