MATRIARCH at Kilkenny Arts Festival

9 mins read


Kilkenny Arts Office and the Emerging Curator Development Programme are pleased to present MATRIARCH for the Kilkenny Arts Festival 2022 programme. MATRIARCH is a programme designed to celebrate women artists over 65 who have practiced much of their lives. The purpose of the exhibition is to place women artists at the forefront in powerfully shaping the arts landscape in which they operate. Each event is site specific to sites of symbolic significance and placement of power. The sites are important to situate the sense of place in Kilkenny where powerful women in it’s history dominated, and to make connections between these historical figures and the programmes artists. An empowered exhibition of artists from the Kilkenny Women’s Group will be on display at the Window Gallery at John’s Green House responding to the themes of the programme and an audio tour will be available on our blog from the 5th of August.

Curator Sinéad Keogh states “ I am very honoured to work with these informed, groundbreaking artists and looking forward to each of their respective events over the course of the festival in sites of power; from Kytler’s Inn to Kilkenny Castle. Everyone is welcome to these free events and I hope that you find the magic in MATRIARCH.”

You can access the catalogue here

You can access an audio tour here


You can find further details on each of these events below;


Sara R. Phillips

quiescent, poetry reading

4th August, 3 – 4pm, Kyteler’s Inn, St. Kieran’s St, Gardens, Kilkenny

Sara R. Phillips is a global trans activist working with TENI, Transgender Europe, International Trans Fund and the National Women’s Council of Ireland. quiescent weaves a theme through Sara’s poetry, examining misunderstanding, marginalisation,  witchcraft, rebellion, and transition. Exploring the stories of 3 women, Alice, Eliza and Sara, quiescent includes Sara’s poem The Quiet Girl and spans 900+ years.

Twitter @ItransArchive and @sararphillips

Facebook @irishtransarchive

Artist Bio

Sara R. Phillips is a poet, playwright, musician and Trans activist. Sara is the founder, researcher and archivist for the Irish Trans Archive. She is the former Chair of Transgender Equality Network Ireland and the founder and curator of the annual Trans Arts and Performance festival Trans-Fusion. Sara is also a member of the National Women’s Council Board.

There is no ticket or registration required for this event.

Documentation of quiescent by the talented Róisín Murphy O’Sullivan. Find her website here.



Na Cailleacha

Spellbound – an artist talk with Na Cailleacha

5th August, 1- 2 pm, Rothe House, 16 Parliament St, Gardens, Kilkenny

Group portrait of Na Cailleacha


Come join us for a magical conversation with the all female powerhouse collective – Na Cailleacha. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the groups origins, their upcoming work at the Hugh Lane and the connections between feminism, art and witchcraft. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A with you, our audience.

Collective Bio

We are Na Cailleacha, from the Irish word ‘cailleach’ meaning a witch or a divine hag. We want to explore what it means to be women who are getting older and arguably becoming invisible and what strategies we devise to overcome the challenges of ageing. Between us we share well over 500 years of experience of being women, as artists, as curator/writer/historian and as composer. We want to make art that allows us to explore this collective experience, our attitudes to ageing, our bodies, our place in the artworld, and how we relate to a different culture and heritage. Central to this developmental opportunity in this phase of our careers is working collaboratively, enabling us to do what women have always done – mentored, supported and argued with each other – so that we can share the fruits of this time together with other people in Ireland. We work and explore ideas and issues that are relevant to us now and as they arise out of collective meetings and residencies. Our concerns embrace the processes of aging, loss and stereotypes of the witch or hag in society and we hope to work across generations, gender, race and class identities to make socially committed art with and for the community.

Find Na Cailleacha’s website here.

There is no ticket or registration required for this event.

Documentation of Spellbound by the talented Róisín Murphy O’Sullivan. Find her website here.


Lorna Corrigan

Clonmel, Billboard

4th – 17th August, College Rd Junction of Circular Rd, Kilkenny to Callan Circular Road opposite the Kilkenny Hotel

A stunning large-scale billboard of Corrigan’s mixed media work Clonmel (2022).

Artist Bio

Moving from Camphill Duffcarrig, Gorey, Lorna spent six years studying and developing her own style and technique at Ormonde College in Kilkenny. In 2004 she joined the KCAT Studio and her work continues to flourish. Though working largely on canvas with paint, she also sensitively handles ink and pastel on paper. Lorna embraces a range of subjects, often taken from her memory or travels to Australia and France. Since the age of 5, when she poured a can of bright red paint over herself and a dull grey tractor, Lorna has considered herself an artist. Her work is well sought after and is exhibited widely.

Find Corrigan’s studio profile here.



Pauline Cummins

Bare Bones , performance art event

11th August 6 – 7 pm, Medieval Room, Kilkenny Castle

A fine art performance dealing with Irish society’s hidden past from one of Ireland’s leading performance artists.

Please note that if you are late you can not be admitted.

Artist Bio

Pauline Cummins’ performance and video work examines the human condition from a feminist perspective. Research driven themes of the political body, activism, human rights and gender are often explored in the artists practice. Cummins likes to collaborate with artists and communities in public sites and situations; including within prisons as a visiting artist and was the founding chairperson of the Women’s Artist Action Group, (WAAG). Cummins lectured at the National College of Art and Design from 1994 – 2014. Her work is in both national and international collections including The Irish Museum of Modern Art and the National Maternity Hospital. Commissions include the Newgrange Interpretative Centre, New St. Park (Dublin) and the National Maternity Hospital.

Find Cummins website here.

There is no ticket or registration required for this event

Documentation of Bare Bones by Róisín Murphy O’Sullivan. Find her website here.

Kilkenny Women’s Group

4th- 17th August, MATRIARCH response exhibition, art exhibition

The Window Gallery, Johns Green House, John’s Green, Kilkenny

An empowered exhibition of artists from the Kilkenny Women’s Group at the Window Gallery at John’s Green House responding to the themes of the programme. Special thanks to contributors Catherine Duff, Mary O’ Hanrahan, Trish Duff and Josephine O’Reilly.

Professional documentation coming soon.

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