The Changemakers: Alice Maher on artistic language and finding new narratives
In this month’s issue of IMAGE magazine, Orla Neligan talked to the Irish women who are making a big impact in their respective field.
“I was always drawing and observing – always looking,” muses artist Alice Maher, whose artistic practice spans the gamut of creative genres, from painting to sculpture, drawing, installation, animation and film, often with the female as the protagonist of her content.
Photo credit: Barry McCall
Initially, Alice was more conservative in her work, but now she is intent on finding new narratives and images of women that are non-exploitative, affording them an agency and psyche of their own. Of her ability to reinvent, she cites the constant development of her artistic language, without copying herself, as the biggest challenge. Along with other creatives, Alice has worked to encourage social change through cultural means with the Artists’ Campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment.
“My biggest triumph is waking each morning, and my greatest disappointment is having to go to sleep.”
“Visual culture is a wonderful vehicle for expression and allows people to approach and engage with complex subjects,” notes Maher, who together with other artists created A Day of Testimonies – re-enactments of testimonies from people affected by the Eighth Amendment, which are available free of charge to the public. “I am adding my voice to a bigger one, I suppose, so that does make me an agent for change. In the 19th century, women were the muses of culture. I hope that we become the makers of culture, not just being looked at, but adding to the conversation.” Our eyes and minds are open.
The Ireland of the future would be…
“A place where quality and respect is afforded to all citizens. We deserve agency over our own bodies and lives.”