Edited By Ruben Moi, Brynhildur Boyce and Charles Armstrong
Visual Tectonics: Post-millenial Art in Ireland
Throughout much of the twentieth century, Irish art had a shifting and sometimes complex relationship with the wider social forces that shaped the nation through its struggles for independence and the subsequent processes of establishment of a postcolonial identity. By the end of the century and the start of a new millennium, however, the concept of nation within Ireland was becoming increasingly unrecognizable within previous terms. The unfulfilled promise of nationalism to reunite the island, an aim that had endured since Partition in 1922 and was embedded within the Free State’s constitution, was dealt a serious blow when one of the outcomes of the Peace Process during the 1990s was the renunciation of these claims. Northern Ireland itself appeared to be transformed as a result of these negotiations, with an end to thirty years of conflict signaled by the signing of the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Meanwhile the effects of economic prosperity as an outcome of the Celtic Tiger phenomenon in the South helped to eradicate any lingering sense of Ireland’s colonial dependency on Britain; a reversal in the flow of emigration from Ireland in the immediate post-millennial years suggested that this situation had changed irrevocably.
The past has a habit of resurfacing. This is particularly the case in Northern Ireland, despite the optimism of the political settlement; economic buoyancy throughout Ireland, both North and South, also proved to be shortlived. However, economic and political transformation has left the former construct of nation...
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