The Anatomy of Hope by Rita Duffy

The Anatomy of Hope: Artist Statement



“Covid19 blasted in from nowhere, gathering pace as it whipped around the globe and smashed all our doors closed in its deadly draft. I began drawing. In lockdown, no travelling out was permitted, I began an instinctive journey inwards, all doors of escape had closed, no cheap flights that cost the earth were available.  Through the summer months my drawing continued; a resilient brain wears a daisy chain crown, supporting the thought, we will survive this pandemic and live to tell the tale. Lungs appear like gossiping women wearing west of Ireland shawls. We approached winter darkness, challenged by the hardest part of our collective struggle, the drawings flowed, and the Anatomy of Hope animation began.


The hearts constant pulsing, pumping out life through vessels and hedgerow tangle, colour creeps across the page, covid blackberries sprouting, lungs inhaling. Teeth clench, threatening thorny briars encroach, the raven beaked plague doctor nods to past experience. Talisman as vaccine to keep us safe, is tied to a branch. Discarded blue gloves tumble like autumn leaves, a language of fingers and natures blossoms promise to carry us through, imagining ourselves better.


 The robust heartfelt kindness, experienced in Irish communities reassures me, all will be well.


I reach back to the ageless rituals of Brigid, the cloak that gathers us in, safe in its shelter, wishing trees and holy wells and cures, dark shadowy places filled with magic and hope. Superstitious ribbons and St Bridget's red rags impaled on thorns, suffering on, offering it up, enduring, at all costs doing the right thing. Keeping the door closed is not a long term strategy, we are being forced to break with the past and find new paths. It was a year of global humbling, a moment when the confident certainties of what we knew as normal disappeared. We now need the spiritual force of art to lead us forward - art is the suitcase of history carrying the essentials, art is the lifebuoy, art is seed, art is memory, art is vaccine”.


  • Rita Duffy, Artist.


Created with the assistance of animators Méabh Gilheaney, Rhea Hanlon and Cassie Galloway.


The Anatomy of Hope will be screened at Cavan Central Library, Farnham Centre, Cavan: 7pm – 11pm every evening from 3rd – 11th April 2021.

All welcome. Viewers are reminded to observe social distancing and Covid-19 restrictions.


This project was made possible with the support of Cavan Arts Office and Cavan Library Services under the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage Percent for Art Scheme.




Date and time:

03 April 2021 to 11 April 2021


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