Rita Duffy is one of Ireland’s groundbreaking artists, using her work to involve the histories and narratives of different communities in Ireland and all over the world. She became famous with Thaw, an art project with environmental concerns aimed to bring an iceberg to Belfast (2004). The Shirt Factory project, part of the celebrations of Derry as the first ever UK City of Culture (2013), was an extensive examination of women’s labour, through the reinvention of a former shirt factory. In 2016, Rita was invited to co-commemorate the Easter Rising, which brought about The Souvenir Shop, a witty exploration of the lived experience of rebellion. In 2019, Soften the Border, developed with a small cross-border knitting group at the centre of the Bellcoo/Blacklion bridge, gave voice to the immediate local experience, attracting global media coverage. She is an Honorary Member of the Royal Society of Architects for developmental work in the built environment. In 2020, a documentary of her work was made by the BBC and the European broadcaster, ARTE. In 2021, she completed her Visiting Artist Fellowship at Trinity College Dublin, producing a new moving image work titled ‘The Anatomy of Hope’.
Based in Ballyconnell Courthouse on the border in Ireland, she continues her studio-based practice in ‘no man’s land’, generating socially engaged art projects that explore issues of female identity, history and, increasingly, environmental issues.
In 2018 she was recognised for her contribution to visual arts in Ireland and was elected to Aosdána, Ireland’s peer-nominated association of ‘people of the arts’.
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