Stories from Wild West Ireland to the Caribbean
Join us for an afternoon of Irish art and culture including a photo exhibition featuring the work of Helen Hooker curated by Cormac O’Malley, and conversations on stage between Dr. Miriam Nyhan Grey and Dr. Maria McGarrity followed by Dr. Phil Mullen and Emer Martin.
Presented with Irish Culture Bay Area’s Irish Arts & Writers Festival. Admission for this Sunday afternoon portion is free but reservations are required.
(2pm) Western Ways: The Photographs of Helen Hooker
Photo Exhibition in Lobbies
Cormac O’Malley was born in Ireland but came to live in the U.S. with his American artist mother, Helen Hooker, when his father, renowned Irish republican and writer, Ernie O’Malley, died in 1957. Following a career in international corporate law, Cormac has focused on the literary and artistic heritage of both his parents, including the publications of books not published during their lifetimes. Western Ways is a unique collection of images of Ireland by his photographer and sculptor mother, Helen Hooker.
(2:35pm) Emer Martin: Rewilding the Mind – Decolonization Through Literature
Emer Martin’s is a radical, vital voice in Irish writing, as she challenges the history of silence, institutional lies, evasion and the mistreatment of women across mid-to-late twentieth-century Ireland.
Two families inhabit this immersive polyvocal work, an intergenerational saga announced with The Cruelty Men (2018) and continued here with Thirsty Ghosts (2023) as punk rockers and Magdalene laundries spiral into a post-colonial Ireland still haunted by its tribal undertow. Scenes surface from Ireland’s mythological past, Tudor plantations, workhouses and industrial schools, the Troubles laid bare, the transformative pre-digital decades playing out in this propulsive narrative.
“We are at the end of a deceptive violent system of colonialism, capitalism, and patriarchal white supremacy where we viscerally feel the future arriving already exhausted,” says Martin. “Writing and art can be used to decolonize through the creation of new realities beyond what we have available to our individual imagination. Art and writing can untangle the deceit of a suffocating system that has alienated and depleted both us and the earth for centuries under colonization.”
(3:15pm) Connecting Ireland and the Caribbean
Dr. Miriam Nyhan Grey in conversation with Maria McGarrity
In partnership with Irish American Crossroads Festival.
Dr. Miriam Nyhan Grey‘s current research agenda is animated by the intersections of race, ethnicity and imperial legacies in the Irish diasporic experience, with a special interest in the United States and the Caribbean. She has recently returned to Ireland after a decade and a half at New York University where she was Associate Director of NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House, Director of the MA in Irish Studies, NYU’s Global Coordinator for Irish Studies and co-director of the oral history collection at the Archives of Irish America. A founding board member of the non-profit organization African American Irish Diaspora Network in 2019, Miriam is also the originator of the innovative and ongoing Black, Brown and Green Voices program. She is currently Assistant Professor of History at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.
Dr. Maria McGarrity is Professor of English at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York and a 2023 Fulbright Scholar at the Seamus Heaney Center at Queen’s University Belfast. Her latest book Modern Irish Literature and the Primitive Sublime is forthcoming from Routledge in 2024. In this new work, she links the poetry of Seamus Heaney and Eavan Boland to Caribbean cultural practices surrounding the colonial/postcolonial reanimation of the body into forms of The Living Dead. She has previously published two monographs, including Washed by the Gulf Stream: the Historic and Geographic Relation of Irish and Caribbean Literature and two co-edited collections, Irish Modernism and the Global Primitive and Caribbean Irish Connections: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Dr. Garrity is especially interested in how Irish diasporic communities in the Americas negotiate identity and belonging.
(4pm) Mixed-Race and African-Irish Women: Institutions & Identity
Dr. Phil Mullen in Conversation with author Emer Martin
Dr. Phil Mullen is currently Associate Professor of Black Studies at Trinity College. She was born in Dublin and grew up in the Irish industrial school system. She graduated in English and Philosophy from Trinity College Dublin, and completed her PhD as a Government of Ireland PhD scholar. She examined the racist and racialized aspects of how Black mixed African-Irish women, who grew up in the Irish institutional care system without families, construct their identity.
Dublin and Bay Area resident Emer Martin is a radical, vital voice in Irish writing, as she challenges the history of silence, institutional lies, evasion and the mistreatment of women across mid-to-late twentieth-century Ireland. In her latest book Thirsty Ghosts, the multi-generational family saga announced with The Cruelty Men (2018) continues as punk rockers and Magdalene laundries spiral into a post-colonial Ireland still haunted by its tribal undertow.