Home Doll house New Derry exhibit explores housing, fossil fuels and a sense of place

New Derry exhibit explores housing, fossil fuels and a sense of place


Anne-Marie McKee, David Jacques and Ciara Finnegan came together to create a collaborative exhibition where they each created three houses, using the same dimensions, with different materials to explore different themes around the houses and the emotions surrounding them.

The idea for the exhibit grew out of a project Ciara had been working on since 2018, called The Dollhouse Space.

Ciara, who lives in the Netherlands, said: “I found a dollhouse on the Dutch equivalent of Ebay for €15. It wasn’t a bespoke dollhouse, it was just a regular dollhouse made by a factory in the 70’s. I then kind of reverse engineered the dollhouse to draw the plans for the house, so anyone with access to a laser cutter could cut her- even the drawing. I really like this aspect of looking at a container for art that is not a sacred space, that the building is not made for art. I sent these plans to David and Anne -Marie for this project Each of the houses is very individual but we have this connection of ideas and process and the contrast between each project.

Ciara Finnegan, David Jacques and Anne-Marie McKee.

Ciara’s house is made of transparent plexiglass and features a number of characters reflecting human emotions and feelings and referring to Malcolm Turvey’s vision of Jacques Tati’s films.

“We’re looking at how people personalize their homes or maybe they have some sort of idiosyncratic loop to the house,” she said. “We wonder where we are with the housing debate right now but, for me, we are looking at the artistic potential of the house. It’s the first time we’ve all come together and I love that there’s a thread of humor through the work and a kind of healthy disrespect for the art object. I really enjoy the sheer playfulness of this one.

Anne-Marie, who lives in Derry, said: ‘I worked on this idea of ​​thin places, which is the idea that there are different places in the landscape where there’s a gap or you feel connected to another place. The bags, which I worked on, come from a neighbor friend who is a sheep farmer. These are bags of sheep feed and I sewed a phrase using materials from important times in my life, so there is an autobiographical use of the materials. It also ties into this place in Moville, called The Schoolhouse, which is from Cooley, and ties into the housing theme of the show. This exhibition is also in a school.

“The idea is that the bags will become props in the film work, so what you see at the exhibit is a snapshot of where the work is going on. It’s an ongoing continuum.

David Jacques’ doll‘s house encountering a mass of oil and gas pipes reflects on the fossil fuel industry.

David is originally from Liverpool but has always felt a strong connection to Derry after a visit in the 90s. His current practice deals with eco-political situations using surreal layered narratives. For the residential residence, he arranged an encounter between the Dollhouse, a mass of oil and gas pipes steeped in savage animism, and a puck-shaped figure known as “The Oil Drop Kid”, a distorted version of the Esso Oils mascot. from the 1950s.

He said: “Over the past few years I have been interested in issues around fossil fuels and oil extraction, so I kind of integrated that theme into my relationship with the dollhouse. I brought ‘The Oil Drop Kid’ back to life because, in the 1950s, he was this positive figure of the future of fossil fuels, but he’s come back now in a zombified form. My dollhouse burned and burst with oil lines.

The exhibition is open to the public from Thursday September 29 to Saturday October 1. For more information, visit artarcadia.org.

St Augustine’s School, where the Housing exhibition is based at Art Arcadia.
Ciara Finnegan’s dollhouse, in plexiglass.
Accommodation at Art Arcadia at St Augustine School.
David Jacques’ dollhouse behind some of Anne-Marie McKee’s.
Ciara Finnegan’s plexiglass dollhouse with Anne-Marie McKee’s on the wall behind.
Ciara Finnegan’s dollhouse, part of the Housing exhibit in Art Arcadia at St Augustine’s School.