Who Do We Say We Are? Irish Art 1922 | 2022: The Paintings and the Music

CD Cover

A note from Kevin Byrne, Consul General of Ireland to the Midwestern United States:

1922 was a seminal year for Ireland and the concept of Irishness: the modern Irish state was founded; James Joyce's Ulysses, Ireland's first modernist novel, was published in Paris; and the Irish Race Congress, a consequential gathering and accompanying art exhibition that served as a reckoning moment for Irish identity politics, was held in the French capital.

Ireland's art, our music and literature, have always played a central role in the assertion and representation of Irish nation- and statehood internationally. In 2022, as part of Ireland's official commemorative decade of centenaries, the Irish Government is supporting States of Modernity, an ambitious series of interlinked cultural events and exhibitions taking place in the Midwest US, Ireland, and European capitals to reflect on the events of 100 years ago, to examine the journey Ireland and Irish identity have travelled over the past century of statehood, and to look ahead to Ireland’s next century.

Who Do We Say We Are: Irish Art, 1922 I 2022 in the Snite Museum of Art is a central element of States of Modernity. It approaches 1922 not as a resolved moment in time, but a starting point for a careful exploration of Irishness and Irish art through the first century of Irish statehood. Irish culture - our music, our art, our dance, our literature - is at the very core of Irish identity and a key protagonist in the assertion of Irish nationhood and the building of Irish statehood. Ireland's culture is at essence a multi-modal experience with music and song enriching and adding layers of feeling and meaning to the appreciation of works of art, and to their impact. Who Do We Say We Are: Irish Art, 1922 I 2022 and this musical accompaniment make an important and unique contribution to Ireland's commemorative program, and to our understanding of the relationship between Irish art and identity as the Irish State enters her second century. It is for this reason the Consulate is proud to support the musical response to the artworks and themes of the exhibition composed chiefly by the peerless Liz Carroll, and curated both by her and by Marty Fahey of the O'Brien Collection.

The Irish Government is grateful for the tireless and inspired work of our partners in this exploration of the forging of modern Ireland and Irish identity, including: Cheryl Snay and David Acton at the Snite Museum of Art, Marty Fahey and the O'Brien Family of the O'Brien Collection, Patrick Griffin and Mary Hendriksen of the Keough Naughton Institute, Ciaran O'Neill and Billy Shortall of Trinity College Dublin, and Nora Hickey M'Sichili of the Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris. My thanks also to my colleagues in the Department of Foreign Affairs Eugene Downes, Sarah Keating, and Nik Quaife for their contributions.

Kevin Byrne, Consul General
Consulate General of Ireland to the Midwestern US