Helena Walsh

Current Work: Occupied Bodies


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The conflict between a man and a woman, a warmonger and a healer, an incompatible couple, is mirrored by a gender conflict within the same body. Bittersweet childhood memories are recounted across a divided landscape and through troubled dreamscapes as the splits, subconscious fears and conflicts that rage under one roof, rage in one body. Farmyard antics, acts of kindness and cruelty metaphorically merge with the affection and violence, the pain and pleasure within close human relationships. As the complexities of such conflicts are played out across the artist’s physical body, seemingly strict divisions are confused. Buried realities return to haunt, highlighting that in the shadow of victorious battles there lies shame, in the shadow of autonomy there lies repression.

Through a visually rich and descriptive account, this performance explores the artist’s roots in rural Ireland. “ MOM - Marks Of Motherlands” details the intimate history of the artist’s grandparents, children of tremendous global and national turmoil. Tracing the influence of political unrest within their lives and relationship the performance collides the personal with the political. The performance layers this collision with a graphically personal account of the artist’s battle to dispel the traditional gendered roles she faced as a young woman, Unified by the theme of impotency and fertility, the artist’s “uneasy womanliness” parallels with the uneasy political history of Ireland, providing a double-barreled history of her “Motherland” As famine and hunger strikes physically resonate again following a failure to nurture, a painful past meets a painful present, a reminder that making peace is never easy.