Miriam O' Connor


Miriam O’Connor is from Cork and was educated at Technological University, Dublin and later completed a Research Masters at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design & Technology, Dublin (2011). Using photographs, text and printed matter, her projects have explored themes around looking and seeing; the relationship between camera and subject; the circulation and consumption of images, and the complex nature of photographic representation. Following her relocation to the family farm in recent years, O’ Connor now occupies a dual role of farmer and photographer, where she is interested in engaging with the elasticity of the medium throughout everyday agricultural life. In recent times O’ Connor was awarded the Visual Artists Ireland, Experiment! Award (2020) and her long-term body of work, Tomorrow is Sunday was published in conjunction with A Woman’s Work by the Gallery of Photography Ireland (2020). A solo show of this work will take place at The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin in Spring 2021.



Tomorrow is Sunday

Tomorrow is Sunday reflects on the artist’s return to the family farm following the death of her brother Jerome in 2013. Up to that point her brother had managed the farm for almost three decades and the task of keeping things going was then conferred to O’Connor, with her mother and sister. The project employs photographs, texts, logbooks and inventories, enabling her to make sense of this life-changing event and the complexities of grief. The artist surmised that “if photography was going to make things better, or serve any function at all, then it had better be put to work”.

O’Connor states “I began to use photography in conjunction with routine farm tasks. I embarked on a series of self-portraits over an entire farming year. I made lists. I wrote stories. I compiled inventories of animals, rocks, water troughs, stakes and gates. I assembled these photographs into small logbooks which acted like micro manuals for survival. I became obsessed with a tree which, over time, became a huge source of comfort, a place that I consistently returned to time and time again when I was trying to find my way”.


Isla Blue

Isla Blue was commissioned for Active Archive – Slow Institution – The Long Goodbye a research project by Lívia Paldi, Curator of Visual Arts, Project Arts Centre, Dublin. This initiative was devised as an exploration of the art centre's history of programming. Between 1998 and 1999, Valerie Connor had curated an Off Site visual arts programme produced by Project Arts Centre during the redevelopment of the art centre building at its current address. Valerie Connor was invited by Lívia Paldi to reflect on the purpose of the Off Site programme.

In 2019, the gallery at Project Arts Centre was transformed into a workspace, where documents relating to its archives and history were shared and examined, giving cause to new conversations and connections to emerge. I was invited to visit locations in Dublin city centre where the Off Site programme had transpired and respond to those places as they are now. Inspired by the spirit of Off Site and its ability as a programme to unfold in both a nomadic and structured manner, I engaged with these places, those events, that history and the city through a contemporary lens. The final sets of photographs were presented in 5 individual folios released at various points throughout the show's duration.


The Legacy Project

The Legacy Project is a commission work with The National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI). The NWCI initiated the Legacy Project to challenge mainstream representations of women and work and to look instead at the alternatives. These commissions aimed to create another kind of public dialogue that would amplify the advocacy work of the NWCI, the membership, interested communities and individuals.

The result of this commission was The Legacy Project a photobook comprising of images taken at the workspaces used by NWCI and its member groups, including some groups that struggle for media visibility and operate in a very transient way, meeting often in improvised settings. Some of the images direct attention outside the frame, towards everyday details and gestures, observed at these workspaces - details that all too often slip beneath the radar of awareness. Additionally, intermingled in the book are excerpts from the NWCI photographic archive - written notes, queries, remarks and images, that evoke memories of work already done, of staff and events that have come and gone. By dwelling on these kinds of photographs, these particular notes and images, we are reminded too about the complex work of representation itself.

The Legacy Project which formed part of the exhibition, Still, We Work was launched at The Gallery of Photography, Dublin on October 18th, 2013.