'Teaglach Cumaisc', meaning blended family in Irish, is the work that I showed at my 2nd year interim show. This piece is the culmination of working through and tracing my complicated family. I wanted to pay homage to my Nanny with the use of the Irish language, she was a proud and confident Northen Irish woman. She grew up inbetween Northen Ireland and England due to the troubles, her and my Granpa would always visit her family even in the height of the conflict, much to the behest of my Granpa's English friends! This Irish heritage has always been a part of my life; growing up I'd always spend my summers in Warrenpoint and Newry. When my Nanny died when I was about 4/5, we had a true Irish funeral. Her body was held in our house and then we walked to the church behind her casket. Despite being very young, I remember the fact that the church was packed. Nanny Jean was a woman ahead of her time, her and my Granpa adopted my mum and uncle (due to fertility issues on both sides), she studied for an open university degree as a mature student in the 80s and worked with a local doctor during the AIDs crisis to ensure the young people of Harrogate were delivered unbiased and accurate sex education. As an adult now, there is so much I would love to pick her brains about.
Growing up, both my grandparents did the legwork in raising me. My mum was struggling due to being a single mother, so in essence my granpa is my dad. I would make him Father's day cards, slightly embarrased at this fact. With 'Teaglach Cumaisc', I wanted to celebrate the non nuclear family and finding ones own true family, my representing me and my partner (our 4 year anniversary actually coincided with the opening of the show) as the parental figures and the sculpture sat on the altar. As someone who is of the anti-natalist inclination, although not as extreme as David Benetar- think more 'This be the verse' by Philip Larkin, I want to celebrate those who chose not to have children and create a life without the need 'to leave a legacy' in the form of a physical human child- my art is my 'legacy'.