Natural History of Hope

Natural History of Hope is an unflinching exploration of gender and class inequality and the complexity of women’s lives told through real life stories of oppression, resilience, solidarity and hope.

Based on hundreds of testimonies of women in the Rialto area of Dublin’s inner city, Natural History of Hope was performed by an intergenerational cast of local women.

The character of Hope was realised through a puppet representation and I was commissioned to create her skin over an armature. This was achieved through felt, wool, sewing and embroidery, women’s skills. I also created her costumes; the pink detailed top and leggings and her paper debs dress; props including; a knitted IV bag and baby blanket. Together with the MAGS group we were asked to participate on stage in the production, inhabiting a space upstage, knitting, throughout the play and performing a song at the end.

Natural History of Hope was a four-year inter-generational project between Rialto Youth Project, artist Fiona Whelan and Broken Talkers, exploring contemporary equality issues for women and girls living and working in Rialto. This longitudinal enquiry drew on the strong relationships between the organisation and generations of females living locally.

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