Dublin Holds My Mind: Commissioned Artists

As part of Culture Night Dublin 2021, three artist commissions have been funded by Dublin City Council for inclusion in the upcoming programme. The commissions were selected from an open call process entitled Dublin Holds My Mind, which sought to “reignite the dialogue between the city and its communities, emerging from a period of isolation and disconnect, by celebrating its many layers and complexities through the means of creative expression”. Each of the commissions will be presented in the city centre on Culture Night. The open call is available to read here.

Irish Modern Dance Theatre

Irish Modern Dance Theatre’s commissioned work, Street Symphony, is a live urban dance performance and film journey using Dublin’s streets and stones as a background and inspiration, by 5 exceptional Dublin-based dancers of vastly diverse dance backgrounds – from Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ireland and Zimbabwe. Street Symphony features five solos bursting from and melting into a hypnotic group dance, using themes of bloodlines, migration, assimilation and adaptation in the grey bricked landscape of Dublin.

Choreography: John Scott. Filmmaker: Barry Lynch. Dancers: Alessandra Azevedo, Vitor Bassi, Magdalena Hylak, Favour Odusula, Sarah Ryan

Founded in 1991 by dancer and choreographer John Scott, Irish Modern Dance Theatre is one of the most original and responsive dance companies working in Ireland today. A Dublin-based ensemble, Scott and international guest choreographers create distinctive dance works with diverse casts, mixing virtuosic Irish and international dancers with African and Middle Eastern refugees and torture survivors. Their works include ‘Lear’, ‘Inventions’, Actions’ and ‘Fall and Recover’ – all recognised for their intelligence, honesty and humanity. Irish Modern Dance Theatre’s work crosses disciplines, subverts expectations of dance and dancers and finds new ways to explore contemporary issues. Image: Julien Behal Photography. Full event description here.

Watch the accompanying film here. Filmed by Barry Lynch. 

Niall ‘Kurb Junki’ Cullen

Cullen’s commissioned work investigates ownership of public space and human connection while also reframing Cullen’s painting practice in a new context. The artist is currently documenting a series of moving portraits in Dublin. These portraits will be layered and collaged with moving paintings, animations and architectural documentation. The finished piece will be projection mapped at Barnardo Square, Dame Street resulting in a large-scale outdoor installation. The accompanying online work will soon be made available here.

Niall ‘Kurb Junki’ Cullen is a contemporary visual artist with a first class honours degree in sculpture from the National College of Art and Design. He began an experimental project titled Kurb Junki in 2015, which explored the motif of a burger through a series of unauthorised public installations and videos that were shot in public space. This project organically developed while laying a foundation and identity for Cullen’s career as a contemporary visual artist. His work investigates themes around identity, public space, mark making, reappropriation of data and imagery while he also explores a collaborative practice with other artists and the public.

Cullen currently works from a studio space in Dublin and also fulfills the role of Creative Director at Goblin Magazine, which is available in the National Library of Ireland and the Gallery of Photography Ireland. Image: Courtesy of the Artist. Full event description here.

Watch the accompanying online work here

Kevin Bohan and Iljin

Responding to the poem Dublin by Louis MacNiece, this commission will see two live murals completed in Bedford Lane, Temple Bar from 4pm-7:30pm by Kevin Bohan and IIjin.

Over the past 10 years, Kevin Bohan, a born and bred Dubliner, has painted murals across the city, including the lanes of Temple Bar, most notably as part of The Icon Walk Project. It is here, in Temple Bar, where Bohan believes the duality of the city described by MacNiece in 1939 is most evident today. It can be said that there is a certain “seedy elegance” to the most popular tourist spot in any city, as it is most often an area where the cultural and the commercial worlds collide. As a bustling hub of domestic and international visitors, Temple Bar’s charming lanes are a whirlwind of energy and colour throughout the year. However, as addiction and homelessness levels continue to rise across the city, it is in these same cobbled lanes that Bohan has seen first-hand the ghosts, squalor and the pain of those affected by these increasingly prevalent issues.

Originally from Krakow, Poland, IIjin has lived in Dublin for the past 13 years. The lines, “This was never my town, I was not born or bred… But yet she holds my mind”, rang particularly true for Iljin and directly inspired his mural design. Although he was not born here, Iljin certainly considers Dublin to be his home, and brings a different perspective to this artistic response to the city. Since moving to Dublin, the city’s pigeons have also held a special place in Iljin’s mind, as they serve as a comforting reminder of Krakow and a connecting thread between his two hometowns.

There will also be two street art tours supported by Culture Night Dublin that will stop at the live mural as it is being completed. More details about these tours can be found in our programme. Image: Bob Dixon Photography

Full event description here.