Alight Awaken Arise 1916 Commemorative Artwork

1916 Celebration Artwork created in 2016 by MAGS

Aine, Gemma and Maureen came together to have a cup of coffee opposite Kilmainham jail.

They knew they wanted to do something in mixed fabrics and stitching (felt, wool, crochet, beading, knitting, embroidery) to commemorate and celebrate 1916 from the perspective of women. They were inspired by the gate and then by the plaque on the nearby house.

They began to think of images and symbols to do with 1916 and women and so they came up with the three stages of the growth and transition of women: girlhood, womanhood and elder-hood. They chose a tree to represent strength, the ability to survive through all kinds of difficulties and the capacity to give shelter and protection.

The swans link ancient stories and poems, flying powerful and free, ascending heavenwards, transforming with beauty and elegance harsh reality. Yet, they are our swans, gliding along the canal and always coming home.

Kilmainham gate, the strong centrepiece, stands open, a gateway out of imprisonment and sorrow. Earth, air and water connect ordinary things of life and sweep them up to the lantern, beaming light and healing.

Aine, Gemma and Maureen are three women who live in Dublin 8 and Dublin 12, and met at the Stitch and Bitch project in the Fatima community centre.

Sadhbh Lawlor joined them as artist and designer. She created templates for all the different pieces; suggested colours, fabrics and textures and finally brought all the disparate pieces together in an enchanting whole. They found themselves able to rise to the challenge to make something lasting and beautiful with her skill and encouragement.

They call it: Alight, Awaken, Arise.

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