Since the late 1980s, the esteemed British documentary photographer Martin Parr has been taking photographs in Ireland. Between 1980-1982 he lived in in Boyle, Co. Roscommon, where he embedded himself in the land and culture, capturing the area where he was based. Since then, he has returned many times to continue this work, coming back to Ireland at regular intervals over the last three decades.
During that time, he captured the changing Ireland and created a series of images that present the effects of wealth and Americanisation on the country.
At a pivotal time of social and cultural change, these series’ range from the Texan-inspired bungalows of Co. Leitrim to the Country and Western dances in rural dancehalls, showing an Ireland on the cusp of the Celtic Tiger era. Since then, he has produced new series of works around the Silicon Docks in Dublin, once again exploring the new wave of Corporate American influence in Irish society and the shadow of an impending Brexit.
Until now, this expansive series of images made in Ireland over a 40-year period has not been exhibited in its entirety. Now, a two-year international tour presents all of Parr’s work from the country across six venues from Spring 2021 to December 2022. The work explores a variety of themes and events of historical and social significance in Ireland including the Pope’s visit, the traditional Irish horse and cattle fairs, rural ballrooms, the infamous abandoned Morris Minors of the West of Ireland, seaside holidays, and the changing face of economic Ireland.
The tour, which began in Spring 2021 in Limerick City Art Gallery, will open (for Culture Night) at Roscommon Arts Centre on September 17th, and will be on display until October 29th.
The Roscommon Arts Centre exhibition is supported by Creative Ireland and The Arts Council.