Birth of a Nation – 1 of 3 IRISH WAVE exhibitions

Birth of a Nation, IRISH WAVE 2016

P1190311 copyThis post will take a very brief overview of the main exhibition “ Birth of a Nation” held at the beautiful old warehouse space NING SPACE in 798. Only some of the works are mentioned here.

IMG_2364 copyThe three March exhibitions focused on themes of nationhood and cultural identity as part of Irish Wave’s mission to promote multicultural artistic exchanges. The starting point is the Easter Rising which took place in Dublin in 1916 which is taken from different perspectives and set within the context of the First World War allowing artists from across the globe to respond.

opening NING


Curated by: Fion Gunn, Gail Ritchie, Niamh Cunningham, assistant curators Patrick Ketch and Steve Chen and Chinese co-ordinator Glassia Lu in collaboration with Ning Zhang of NING SPACE 798.


Many thanks to Ambassador Paul Kavanagh and Rosemary Kavanagh who took great interest and time exploring the works at the opening and cultural attaché John Lynam. Also speaking at the event was Tim Losty of the Northern Irish Bureau. And a very big thank you to Ning Zhang for facilitating this exhibition at her wonderful gallery space.

Gail & AmbassadorPlease refer to the link below for a full account of images.

Ursula Burke (NI), Sean Campbell (NI), Pam Carroll (UK), Chuan San (China), Chen Meitsen (Taiwan), Chu You Ye (China),Tom Climent (Ireland), Joan Coen (Ireland), Elizabeth Cope (Ireland), Niamh Cunningham (Ireland/China), Raphael Fenton-Spaid (USA) Sara Fox (NI), Fu Xiaotong (China), Gao Yuan (Taiwan), Anita Glesta (Australia), Guan Wei (Australia/China), Gulistan (China), Fion Gunn (Ireland/UK), Han Qi (China), Pamela  Hardesty (Ireland), Annette Hennessey (Ireland/NI), Ashley Holmes (NI), Patty Hudak (USA/Ireland), Dorothy Hunter (NI) Jia You Guang  (China), Monika Lin (USA/China), Meng Liping (China), Michael Lisle-Taylor (UK), Liu Xu(China), Liu Junli(China, Liu Yi Chao(China, Lizhen (China), Luo Ying (China), Dara McGrath (Ireland), Mary Mackey (Ireland), Audrey Mullins (Ireland/UK), Suzy O’Mullane (Ireland), Pan Yiqun (China), REDIC (USA/China), Gail Ritchie (NI), Shao Kang (China), Sridhar Ramasami (USA/China), Jennifer Trouton (NI), David Turner (NI), Tina Whelan (Ireland), Wang Ning (China),  Wu Jian (China), Wu Jun (China), Wu Wei (China), Wu Yan Xi (China), Yan Feng (China), Yu Ajun (China),  Zhang Xin (China), Zhu Weibin (China)

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Maps and flag references were dispersed throughout the exhibition. Gallery goers were greeted by work of three Irish artists as they entered the gallery. Tom Climents abstracted boundaries and maps were the first works to greet visitors.







Nearby were Suzy O Mullanes decontextualised Virgin Mary references shifting position slightly. The shaky theme continues with Sean Campbell’s maps of wobbly outlines of the British Isles with his signature crouching soldiers suspended with magnets.







On the front space is Jennifer Trouton’s “All that Remains”, Fion Gunn’s Rising city and Chuan San’s Drum Beat. Jennifer Trouton (award winner of this years Golden Fleece) applied d cal prints on watercolour paper some using old prints of business and landowners documents and bookkeeping and other sources.

On the far side of this space was Pan Yi Qun’s passengers in wax







Moving into the main space .








Gulistan’s headless ‘ Reader’ is next to Ashley Holmes acrylic on paper of dual sided American Gothic architecture.

NS.伍伟《光与黑暗 2》 纸 Wu Wei, Light and Darkness 2, paper, 110 x 90cm, 2015 copy






Near by is Wu Wei’s tiny paper cuts of what appear like bejewelled microbes .

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The tall central space was divided by 6 meter vertical Mongolian banners by Jia Youguang. (These were a feat to install building tall scaffolding enabled the independent hanging that was required). The efforts were worth it as it invited the viewer to stretch their veiwpoint up to the full height of the room, it also connected the upper level of the space where the exhibition continued.

David Turners ‘Preconceptions’ hama bead portraits of leaders in their youth Mao Zedong, Che Guevara, Nelson Mandela and Lenin.

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Meanwhile closer to the ground the long horizontal of Shao Kangs “Back to the Future” scroll also made a diagonal division on the floor space. The scroll on first glance looks like a traditional ancient scroll but is far from it on closer inspection, a space age fantasy using a variety of twisted tales taken from familiar events in time.

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Fion Gunn’s ‘Sailing Past’ shows a plethera of seafaring vessels with different national perspectives passing by a limited view of a port hole window. Zhu Weibin’s dense monochrome is next to Wang Ning’s red spine. ‘Only a bit of Cloth’ is a newly constructed flag crocheted using strips of the tricolour and Union Jack by Sarah Fox . And moving from flags to map themes is Yang Feng’s mixed media canvas of Map No 2 .

Audrey Mullins


Audrey Mullins series of delicate oval mixed media drawing print collages are next to Countess’s gun.


Next to Mullins was Yu Ajun’s ‘Hutong story’ which has references to photographs of previous inhabitiants. The old photograph theme continues with Annette Hennessys gun.




Some works directly referred to the rebel leaders of 1916 such as Countess Markievicz gun by Annette Hennessy. A velvet replica of the gun in the photo which was shown next to the work ( photo of the Countess courtesy of the National Library of Ireland ).

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All the leaders of the rising expected to die and prepared for this by documenting posed photographs. Although sentenced to death Countess Markievicz was not executed, in 1918 was the first woman to be elected to British Parliament refusing to take her seat and in 1919 was a member of the first Irish Parliament (Dail) and became the first Irish Cabinet minister serving as Minister for labour from 1919 to 1922.


While guiding a tour of the exhibition we arrived at Gail Ritchies ‘Sherd Island’. I attempted to explain the play on the word Sherd Shard and Shared which was perhaps lost on my listeners but when I explained the porcelain pieces broken into county devisions great interest was taken with the patterns on porcelain a few of which were familiar chinese patterns.

NS. Gail Ritchie- Sherd Island watercolour 70x50cm 2016 copy


The breaking up of old pottery on farmsteads and the scattering of the crumbled cooked clay on farmers fields was a new notion considered that afternoon in the gallery. Also considering that some of the china pottery would be local but some would have been imported from China. And so some parts of cooked china clay would be scattered on those fields also . This notion got plenty of oohs and ahhs.



BOAN gen view 2








Next to Ritchies Island is Fu Xiaotongs” 305,440 holes” Her handmade rice paper is pierced with a special tool to raise the surface in a certain pattern. Fu Xiao Tong has two other installations in this show. Compass is a Chinese imperial dragon walking stick and (what she referred to as) a traditional Englishman’s walking stick constructed into a compass where one culture can be used to pin while the other can be used to navigate. The other installation by the same artist is “Rotate the arm” a balanced mechanical arm gently moving like a grandfather clock on those moments when there was silence in the gallery.

Tom Climents abstracted maps reappear in a long strip leading down to a metal like story book “Sisters’ by Annette Hennessy telling the story of the girls who dressed as men so they could serve .”Stateman” a mono print of Roman bust by the writer.

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Han Qi’s delicate reconstructed organic tree trunk is next to Guan Weis ‘Day after Tomorrow’ which hints at the more recent refugee crises on European water. Gail Ritchie’s Ancestoral Memories placed over Fu Xiao Tongs compass.

Li Zhen’s portraits of well known artists Cai Weilian and Pan Yuliang both trained in France.

On the opposite side is Tina Whelans textile and long plait ‘Home Rule not Rome’ caused a stir of questions on the guided tour… wanting to know if Ireland shared traditions of the long plait of hair in our history. (See two photos below )



A special space for the two video installations by reknowned Anita Glesta, courtesy of Dame Jillian Sackler International Artists Exhibition program, Arthur M Sackler Museum of Art and Archaelogy at Peking University. One work called ‘Guernicka, 9/11’ explored parallels of the two atrocities and the second work ‘Gernicka/Guernica’ is an immersive combination of interviews with actual survivors of the 1937 bombing when the interviewees recalled the event as children.

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On the opposite wall was Chen Meitsens “Suriving the Ruins” series of digital prints. Around the corner are Meng Liping’s ‘Hey Hey Hey’ and ‘The Long March- insert V for victory’. The textile in the centre ‘When I was 11’ by the writer and below is Ursula Burkes small porcelain work ‘Super Mario’.

Niamh Cunningham - When I was 11

NS.Ursula Burke Super Mario Porcelain and Underglaze 2012 copy






Michael Lisle Taylor’s ‘Drawing closer to Gjöll’ maps of medieval superstitions of places which were considered as gateways to Hell. Behind me is Luo Yings ‘Lotus shoes for small foot binding”.




Pam Carrol’s lead work ‘Blast and Patty Hudaks ‘Monkey Buisness’ were suspensions.


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Sridhar Ramasami’s medieval warrior frog pointed visitors upstairs.

On the second level were Michael Lisle Taylors blueprint ‘Ginnungagap’ next to Dara Mc Grath’s ‘Maze’ series where he documented the prison several years after its closure but shortly before it was completely erased to the ground.


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Next to that was Fenton Spaids ‘Spamalot’ and Dorothy Hunters ‘Wiki loves Monuments’ , Fion Gunn’s ‘Witnesses’, Suzy O Mullanes ‘Pink Coffin’ next to Zhu Weibin’s lined network canvas.

P1190618 (1)The last two works over look the gallery space with Patty Hudaks ‘Rise up’.



4148966_origPamela Hardesty detail copy








And Pamela Hardesty’s reworked victorian textile where new bleeding paths extend to shamrock patterns entitled a ‘Terrible Beauty’. On one of the guided tours one of the visitors (Chinese) who had studied Irish Literature in Trinity a few years back and took great interest in the work as she recalled Yeats poetry.



For more details on the show please see







Niamh Cunningham- Bio 。。。个人简介-倪芙瑞莲
'The Pattern that Connects' is part of the Common Threads project showing at EPIC Museum Irish Emigration Museum, Dublin Feb 1- 14th

Currently Showing Oct 2022: The Sasse Museum of Art , Pomona, CA, in the US opened a photography exhibition last weekend showing a process print (23.01.2018) from my mixed media Sucrose Series "Ginkgo Palace", Niamh Cunningham 2018
The original physical sucrose plate and accompanying print on aluminium was collected at Art Beijing 2021
Promoting Connectivity through Creative Industries Sept 2022 at Yindi Art Museum, hosted by Opportunity Lab
Hair Skull recently exhibited (Oct 1st-7th 2022) at Art Plus Shanghai , the group exhibition"Linear" is curated by Chang Feng

For more information on the Hair Skull and working with DNA as an art material click HERE

Ann Derwin, Ambassador to Ireland in China with gallerist 庞春慧Peng Chun Hui at For 觅 gallery , August 2022
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Artist talk on gathering peoples tree stories before Spitoon Book Club discussion on Pulitzer prize winning novel " The Overstory" by Richard Powers
Online Catalogue launched Jan 2022 , showing Sucrose Series alongside Microbe Art
Recently exhibited in Xishuangbanna State Art Museum Dec 2021
Canal Bank Walk , Yuan Dadu Culural Relics Park Beijing
Grand Canal artist Residency and Exhibition

Her Name Penninsula Art Museum Weihai, Shandong 16 July- 22 Oct 2021

Linear….. showing at LangKong Art Museum (朗空美术馆) 07.7-30.7.21
Suzhou Couples Retreat Gardens
The Second Step – mini solo of 18 portraits in HouHai from 6.6 tp 8.8 2021
Astro World Exit Tourism – Group exhibition June 2021
Recently ART Beijing 2021 Booth B28 Irish Contemporary Art
Early stage – Sculpture project HongFangzi ShaWan Sichuan
Current Events 正在展出


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2022 6-8“月亮之约” For觅画廊,通州,北京

2022 1 来自爱尔兰的艺术家 ,线上展览 在线链接

2022 1 清华大学精准医学研究院, EBM 中心





20217 “线性”,798朗空美术馆,北京



2021610“万物有灵——多样之美” 艺术展与企业社会责任国际论坛,北京

20216“第二步”(小型个人展),龙头井胡同JoyBeans Space,北京

20216“天体世界:出逃旅行” 蓝色港湾KUN美术馆,北京

2021年3月4月 ART Beijing 2021

202012 艺术推动可持续未来” 中国企业社会责任国际学术研讨会, 北京泰富酒店


20207  “沉默的爆破”,无锡外滩美术馆,江苏无锡, 7月11日至31日

2019年11月”中国 爱尔兰  MUSEu&m , 上海

*2019年11月装置中国—红房子首届国际户外装置创作营在乐山沙湾红房子开营 …开始阶段

*2019年8月*Gobi Heaven- August 戈壁。天堂-八月

*2019年7月”1919″ 爱尔兰  Sligo -Hamilton Gallery  

*2019年5月“胜日寻芳“ 山东济宁市泗水等闲谷艺术粮仓美术馆

2019年5月-16 爱尔兰大使馆布卢姆日的展览

20195-6  《一张棉花纸》   在宋庄东区玖层美术馆展出



*2018年11月-12月“地图与疆域”国际艺术邀请展 北京吉利学院


*2018, 10月中欧国当代艺术全球巡展·上海

2018, 9月-10月“纸上·至上”展览,沈阳市拓•空间,

2018, 6月-11月诗人叶芝日,爱尔兰,斯莱戈(SLIGO),汉密尔顿艺术画廊

*2018年8月 淮阴艺术馆提名展,淮安市

*2018, 8月 “纸上·至上”展览, 鄂尔多斯,

*2018 , 6月30日 济南“国际抽象艺术展”

*2018 , 6月17 日 纸上•至上2018 在青岛,

*2018 , 5月20 日存在-国际女性艺术展,湖南长沙,

*2018 , 4月21 日延缓的时间,4月21日-29日,红门画廊,798艺术区

*2018 , 4月20 日 挖掘,,和画廊,来鹏高尔夫俱乐部

*2018年4月-12日 挖掘, , 展览,悦美术馆,北京798艺术区




*2017年12月末至2018年1月末, 《时间之外》主题艺术展, 北京中关村融科资讯中心

*2017年12月, 形质与叙事, 形质与叙事, 东岳美术馆

 *2017年12月,广州新造当代艺术中心,纸上·至上 纸艺作品群展.

Upcoming Exhibitions:

* Gushan Rural Village Park Harvest  Autumn 2022

Current Exhibition


Recent  exhibitions:

2022 Moon Covenant Forgallery , Grasse Town , Beijing June- August

2022 Artists from Ireland (online) Sasse Museum of Art Pomona, CA, USA (catalogue link)

2022 Peoples’ Portraits EBM Centre, Tsinghua Uni Intelligent HealthCare, BJ

2021 Rhythm of Life Xishuangbanna Art Museum, Jinghong, Dec

2021 Linear Jingheng Art centre, Jinshan, Shanghai Dec

2021 Abstract China, Taizhou, Jiangsu Oct-Nov

2021 Meet the Grand Canal Xinguanda Centre Tongzhou, Oct

2021 Linear Langkong Art Museum 798, Beijing July

2021 Her Name – Existence Peninsula Art Museum, Weihai, July

2021 Silent and Soft -New Interpretations Suzhou classical Gardens June

2021 All things Bright CSR symposium Shangrila Hotel, Beijing June 10th

2021 The Second Step (mini solo) Joy Beans Space, Jiu Longtou hutong, June

* AstroWorld Kun Art Museum June 5 2021

*Portraits (solo) Joybeans  Hou  Hai 6.6-8.8

*River things  Suzhou Zhenyuan garden UNESCO world Heritage Training and Research centre June 12 th

*Art Beijing  2021 Booth B28  Garden of Friendship

*“Art promotes a Sustainable Future” China CSR international symposium Dec 2020.

*Silent Explosion, Wuxi Bund Art Centre, Jiangsu,  July 11-31 2020

* Sculpture project in HongFangzu , Shawan, Sichuan , begining phase Nov 2019

Current Exhibition

*China Ireland exhibition at MUSEU&m, near the Bund , Shanghai, Nov 29th 2019

* Sculpture project in HongFangzu , Shawan, Sichuan , begining phase Nov 2019

*1919 – Group Exhibition (Hamilton Gallery) in New York, Irish Consulate

*1919 – Group Exhibition Hamilton Gallery , Sligo , Ireland July – September

*Gobi Heaven Art Festival , Inner Mongolia , August 2019

*A piece of Cotton Paper  9th floor gallery Songzhuang June 15th

*”Winning the Day ‘ Granary Art Centre,  SiShui , Shandong, May – June 2019

*Beyond the form of Art , Wick Art Centre , Budapest, Hungary may 2019

*Odyssey The Return ; group exhibition at Dong Yue Art Museum, Beijing  in April

Map and Territory Art IRRCA at Beijing Geely College Nov 20- Dec 20 2018

*Thousands of Sprouts, an experimental online exhibition – by Elizabeth Ross  Nov 2018

* On Paper Supreme, Gwangju Art Museum Beijing Creative Centre Songzhuang Nov- Dec 2018

*China Europe Internaitional Contemporary Art Global Tour Shanghai Oct 2018

*An Irish Airman foresees his Death – Hamilton Gallery Sligo, Ireland June – Nov 2018

*On Paper Supreme, Extension Space, Shenyang, Liaoning,  Sept 16th – Oct 21st  2018

*Artist Nomination Exhibition, Huaiyin art gallery, Huai ‘an shi, Jiangsu, July-Aug 2018

*On Paper Supreme, Ordos Culture and Art Centre , Inner Mongolia , Aug 17th – Sept 10th  2018

*International Abstract Art , ChungChuen College, Jinan, July 2018

* On Paper Supreme, QingDao , Tiantai Art Centre, June 2018

* Existence , International Feminist Art Exhibition,  Mezzi Bookstore Art Space , Changsha

* Excavations 20 April-4th June  He Gallery, Golf Club.

*’Mortgaged Time’ 21st- 29th April at Red Gate Gallery , 798 Beijing  April 21st

*’Excavations’ 12-18th Enjoy Museum 798,  Beijing   preview 5 pm 12th April

* 5 week residency at Guanlan Printmaking base , Shenzhen (Feb-March 2018)

*Lunar New Year theme exhibition “Red Fruit” showing at Raycom IT centre, Zhongguancun,  28th Jan continues to March 3rd, organised by RoveArt , supporting the Female Protection Fund.

*Chinese & Foreign Visual Arts Hunan,  at the Meixi Academy Book Complex, Changsha Dec 26th to Jan 26th 2018.

* ‘Beyond Time’  Raycom IT Centre, Zhongguangcun, Beijing Dec – Jan 27th  2018

*”Qualitative Phase and The Narrative” Beijing Film Academy Triennial Exhibition at Dong Yue Art Museum, Beijing, curated by Li Zhen till Dec 18th 2017…………………………………………….


由此及彼——中(国)爱(尔兰)女艺术家邀请展 The Pattern That Connects Sept 2020
Wuxi Bund Art Centre “Silent Explosion”
My interview with Today Art Museum and Today Art Media on the COVID era

Recent Interview , click on above image April 2020

Link to newspaper coverage -Carlow Nationalist (click on image)

In Her Eyes, F&E 100x100cm acrylic on canvas, 倪芙瑞莲Niamh Cunningham 2019

Silent Explosion
‘China-Ireland’ exhibition Shanghai Nov 29th 2019

China Ireland exhibition at MUSEu&m, Shanghai , opening Nov 29th

‘Whirls in the Old’ in New York at the exhibition ‘1919’

1919-Whirls in the Old Terezin acrylic on canvas 30x30cm Niamh Cunningham 2019

Gobi Heaven Art Festival August 2019

Participating in the International Artists program for this exciting event in the Gobi Dessert

Jul.Aug 2019 Group Exhibition , Hamilton Gallery , Sligo, Ireland and also Sept 2019 at the Irish Consulate Offices , Park Ave NYC
Granary Art exhibition SiShui Shandong June 2019

Granary Art Exhibition SiSHui , Shangdong June 2019 click on image

Swim Duck Video …30 sec clip of original work recently shown at Bloomsday event at Embassy of Ireland Niamh Cunningham 2019
clip from Swim Duck video Niamh Cunningham 2019

Clip from 'Swim Duck' Video by Niamh Cunningham 2019

Group exhibition in Sishui, Shangdong 正在展出

Granary Art Museum , Sishui, Jining , Shandong

April /May 2019 in Budapest 近期展出匈牙利

Currently showing in Budapest Aprli- May 2019

Wandering Rocks series of portraits 游岩系列
Web Of Fabulous Grass – Sucrose Series Click on image for Artist Profile English &简体中文
Talk on James Joyce at Bookworm with prof Fu Hao 乔伊斯座谈会
Aritst Talk on James Joyce at Beijing Bookworm

Talk on James Joyce at Bookwork Beijing April 2019

Map and Territory project Nov -Dec 2018 at Beijing Geely University
Map and Territory

Map and Territory

Artist talk at Beijing Geely College Dec 11th 2018
-.On Paper Supreme made its final exhibition for 2018 in Beijing Songzhuang opening Nov 16th
Group exhibition Hamilton Gallery, Sligo
Hamilton Gallery Sligo - Lonely Impulse 2

A response to WB Yeats poem 'An Irish Airman Foresees his Death'

Group show Oct 27th Shanghai Bund 27 The House of Roosevelt House , the Bund Shanghai
With curator Guo Zhen at the opening of Existence in Changsha , exhibition continues till end of July 2018


Recent ‘At your Leisure’ Summer exhibition Jiangsu “悠游“——淮阴艺术馆
exhibited in Jinan curated by Ma Yi Ying
简体中文Artist Interview & Profile for the Art Project ‘Existence’
Group exhibition at Red Gate in April 2018 focussing on antiwar poet Ingeborg Bachmann
Niamh Cunningham 'Bachmann Girl' 2017

Artwork for poster is 'Bachmann Girl' 100x100cm Acrylic on Canvas by Niamh Cunningham 2017

Recent Posts
Excavations showing at Enjoy Museum 798 April 2018

Excavations , a cross collaborative exhibition showing contemporary art by Chinese and Irish artists , showing in Enjoy Museum, 798 , 2018.4.12

Very honoured to have Irish Ambassador Eoin O’ Leary visit Chinese New Year exhibition “Red & Fruit”

Irish Ambassador Eoin O'Leary with subway paintings at Raycom Centre exhibition Feb 2018

The Grand Canal (Hangzhou to Beijing) artist residency(August 2021) and exhibition (Oct 2021)

RTE interview on preparing for upcoming group exhibition 2 min clip

Currently showing as part of the Common Threads project, at EPIC Irish Emigration Museum , Dublin

Feb 1 -14th , 2023