Someone You Love

Interview by Ellen Tannam

Someone You Love is a pro-choice exhibition featuring work by many Irish artists around the theme of the 8th Amendment. All proceeds go towards Abortion Support Network.

It will be held on October 11th at the Copper House Gallery in Dublin, and we spoke to organiser Aifric Ní Chríodáin.

Can you tell us a bit about your own experiences with activism?

It was really last year after the marriage equality referendum, and working with Lynn Ruane in TCDSU (her buzzword is activism) that it really began for me. Working with the Students Union we did events around Repeal the 8th.

  Illustration by Ciara Ó'Neill

Illustration by Ciara Ó'Neill

We were at the march with t-shirts and banners and organised a big debate with Roisin Ingle, Colm Ó Gorman, Doctors For Choice, and another debate with the Law Society. We also did a lot of work around the blood ban and around consent issues (we brought in the consent workshops in Trinity).

What led you to launch this exhibition?

Myself and my friend Gary Grimes, who is helping doing the PR for the event thought it would be a good idea. It was after the Maser mural got taken down and more art started to pop up, like 8 Stories put up their stickers. At the NCAD degree shows this year, there was a lot of work around the 8th amendment and around choice in general. Laura Fitzpatrick had a great show about Savita Halappanavar and Katie Kidd had one about agony aunts that linked in a lot with choice and abortion. 

  Illustration by Will St. Leger

Illustration by Will St. Leger

We took a chance and said, we’ll see if we get a decent gallery for cheap, if we can get ten artists to contribute...

I emailed people like Will St Leger, Fatti Burke, and Fuschia MacAree chancing my arm and they were all up for it.

The gallery (Copper House) were so amazing, we contacted them and they rang  back saying we would be really proud to do this, take this on for free,told us the date they could do it and then it was set.

There are such a broad range of artists involved in the exhibition, how did you find all of their work?

I looked at the big artists I follow on Instagram, searched through pro-choice hashtags, dug up the old NCAD exhibition and contacted everyone. Once the Facebook event went live, people then contacted me directly to get involved. 

Generally do you think art and creativity can be activism in and of themselves?

I think it can, and it’s a lot more democratic now than it was because of Twitter and Instagram, people have informally created an network of activists. A lot of people say it’s an echo chamber, but it’s also a ready made team of people who are willing to push out a certain image or a message.

It says a lot that you are seeing a lot of stickers scratched off lampposts and stuff, that means the conversation is getting out there.

What was the process for coming up with the title for the exhibition?

We had some pretty terrible titles at the start, me and Gary had a list of stuff we were going through, ticking off stuff and then I saw someone use the #someoneyoulove hashtag and I thought it was so emotive. It ties in pretty well with the charity benefiting being the Abortion Support Network. They’re about taking care, and love and support, because it’s a very vulnerable thing to go through. 

  Illustration by Naoise Dolan

Illustration by Naoise Dolan

Do you sense a change in the pro-choice movement over the last while?

I think there was a change over the summer. The Maser piece really was a big talking point, it was so striking and got so much publicity, like the repeal jumpers. There are these kind of surge points so when Róisín Ingle and Tara came out with their stories they were like surge points and now again we’re experiencing another one. 

Someone You Love will take place on October 11th in the Copper House, Synge Street, Dublin 8. All proceeds on the night will benefit Abortion Support Network, a UK-based organisation that provides vital support, services and care to people from Northern Ireland and the Republic travelling there for terminations.

There will be music on the night from Vickey Curtis, and some special guest speakers.