Living-Leaving at the NPA
David Monahan and Maurice Gunning at the NPA
Thursday, 5 July - Sunday, 22 July 2012
During the Summer of 2012 the National Library’s Photographic Archive (NPA) celebrated its third year of collaborating with the PhotoIreland Festival. PhotoIreland showcased some of the finest national and international contemporary photography in a number of venues around Dublin city during July, highlighting the importance of photography and image culture in Ireland.
The 2012 PhotoIreland theme was ‘Migrations: Diaspora & Cultural Identity’. Within this theme the NPA were proud to present Living-Leaving a joint exhibition by David Monaghan and Maurice Gunning.
In 2008, Maurice Gunning travelled to Buenos Aires and began interviewing and photographing the Argentine Irish Diaspora. Over three months he met with all the Argentine Irish organisations of the city and explored the vast farmland areas of Buenos Aires Province. The Irish Embassy of Argentina was instrumental in making introductions on his behalf and he returned to Buenos Aires in 2010 to exhibit the work under the title Encuentro-A Gathering. During this time he revisited many of the places and people he had met on his previous trip and also travelled to other locations in the province surrounding Buenos Aires. His exploration of contemporary life of the Argentine Irish Diaspora incorporates immigrant letters from Argentina to Ireland from the 1860’s.
David Monahan’s series Leaving Dublin is a photographic tribute to the courage and efforts of those who have left their homeland. For over two years now, he has been capturing emigrants as they prepare to leave Ireland in search of better opportunities abroad. His images have a heroic touch, as if to celebrate the person, to show they are full of pride, full of dignity, that they are strong, upright and confident. In this sense, the exhibition Living-Leaving brings together two strands of one and the same story, and reminds us that the intensely personal decision to emigrate will not only dramatically shape the future lives of those who leave, but also has a huge impact on those left behind.