Sally O’Dowd - Breastival 2019
Artist-in-Residence Sally O'Dowd will be live drawing life and place throughout the day at Breastival 2019 at the Ulster Museum, Belfast. In addition, Breastival 2019 will show a selection of photographs and a piece of sculpture by the artist on the theme of motherhood inside the museum for this years event.
‘Mothership’, shows the artist four months pregnant, strutting her stuff in the guise of an alien, landed from another planet, and exploring new territory with her glitter coated, milk carton tipped tickle stick in a central shopping space in Cavan town. This image is from her 2017 performance, photographed by Carrie Lewis and will be displayed in large A0, poster size format.
The second series of real event photographs document Sally’s recent journey as a new mother and supplier, and the abject beauty and horror she finds in breastfeeding. These will be displayed to the size of her mobile phone screen - a space where she both retreated to and sought support and interaction in those early - sometimes isolating and often magical - days as a new mam.
The sculpture on display is a new piece for The Fabware Collection, specifically a fuchsia coloured, glitter coated breast pump, for expressing milk from the breast but made defunct through the application of glitter. The rich fuchsia colour is used by the artist to connect the glitter and its application to that of fetishized sexuality and bodily fluids. The glitter represents abject beauty, dystopically sparkling and shedding, leaving detritus where it goes.
The breast pump forms part of a larger series titled ‘the Fabware Collection by Sally O’Dowd’. Items in the series include a gas boiler part, playstation controller, three pin plug, saucepan, colander, toilet brush and holder, and more. Glamorous dysfunctionality.
Sally’s presence at Breastival 2019 is generously funded by Cavan County Council’s Arts Office Professional Arts Award.
Sally O’Dowd - Artist Statement 2019
Sally O’Dowd is an award winning visual artist who creates often absurd and socially awkward artwork across the media of performance, film, sculpture and drawing.
Identity politics are the backbone to her work in which intimate female ritual, and women's roles - self selected and enforced - are investigated. O’Dowd’s visuals often depict a graceless image of falling out of oneself, or an inept image of holding the self together; and always of being vulnerable to outside influences.
A direct outgrowth from her live art practice, Sally’s drawings are an attempt to document the authentic moment, to make a record of our personal and collective history; the behind the scenes, and the everyday, in its state of flux. She uses single lines to capture activities, events, and sometimes to position activity. In 2017 she completed a series of drawings, commissioned by the East Belfast Partnership, documenting life and place in East Belfast.
Performance and live art is central to O’Dowd’s artistic practice. Through embodied performance and her associated props and objects she can explore the binaries and fluidity of identity, gender roles, and social expectations. The vital energy of live action and the vulnerability that comes with performing in public spaces, erupts from a supportive framework of markers, such as props, costume, handmade object, or underlying research. This research has included queer and gender studies, chaos theory, and UN legislation on women's rights.
O’Dowd holds a Masters of Art: Art & Process from CIT Crawford College of Art, Cork. She is a recipient of the prestigious CREATE artist in the community award. Her work has been shown in Ireland, the UK and Internationally. She was shortlisted to assistant curate the Venice Architecture Biennale for Ireland. She is a founding member of Townhall Cavan Arts Space, and a founding member and studio holder at Vault Artist Studios, Belfast