I’m honoured to be in the 2019 Polranny Pirates yearbook, which was edited and designed by Connie van Gils & Joost Bruins of Bogwood Publishers, Amstelveen.
Since 2008, the Polranny Pirates Foundation has offered cost price residencies to artists and other creative individuals in County Mayo on the Atlantic coast of Ireland. This region has been inhabited for the last five thousand years and has a rich history that is unique and completely unlike Europe’s cultural mainstream.
I’ve stayed in Polranny on many occasions and am planning to return later this year. Here, my studio is the great outdoors where I explore lakes, rocks, forests and blanket bog, and often without a soul in sight.
County Mayo is full of memories of the long and turbulent struggle for Irish independence. That fighting spirit is particularly embodied by Mayo-based Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley (Gráinne Ní Mháille), who famously refused to bow before Elizabeth I and recognise her as Queen of Ireland.
This history of resistance also provides the inspiration for ‘Nature Devouring Colonialism’, my new photographic project that explores British colonial structures in the process of being engulfed by local plant life. The photo on the right-hand page is an example: It was taken in 2019 at Sheskin Lodge. Located in North Mayo, it catered to prosperous British anglers in the mid 20th century. Now the Lodge is beyond redemption and Mother Nature has gone rogue. Nothing can resist her relentless advance including this wall, which — like a mouse in the grasp of a boa constrictor — will surely succumb sooner or later.
For further information about the Polranny Pirates: https://www.polrannypirates.nl/