Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh, County Cork Ireland was invited to be one of 20 international organizations included in the exhibition, ‘20|20, A world of photography’, taking place at the 20th Annual Noorderlicht Festival in Groningen, the Netherlands.
Sirius Arts Centre’s Director, Peggy Sue Amison was invited to present the work of one Irish photographer, unknown outside his or her own country who exemplifies photographic developments in the region. Peggy Sue selected Dublin based photographer, Jean Curran and her work “Neither Here, Nor There” for this important international event.
Neither Here, Nor There is an exploration of a group of young people transitioning from one culture to another. Centered around the experience of a collection of students from Malawi, recently arrived in Dublin, Ireland to attend college, the story reveals how these new arrivals soon realize their dreams and fantasies of life in Ireland, are quickly replaced by a growing sense of disconnectedness, magnified by the boredom of daily life lived in foreign bedsits around the north of Dublin… . “Neither Here Nor There” is a story of uncertainty and displacement – of challenged dreams and fantasies in a ‘new world.
While photographing these young people, Jean found herself confronted by the memories of seclusion and loneliness that she experienced when in 2010, she left Ireland to live in Kenya for a year. Traveling alone in Africa, she found herself searching for confidence and acceptance in a country and culture not her own.
This common experience I shared with these young people became a plateau for me from which I could re-explore my own experiences of being ‘neither here nor there’ those same feelings of initial high hopes and bright dreams that quickly tarnished and became embedded with a deep longing for the sanctuary of the familiar… of home.”
Jean Curran is an Irish photographer. She has worked on assignment in East, West and South Africa, Haiti and throughout Europe. Published internationally, her photographs have been included in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, El Paiz and the The Irish Times. Jean is also the recipient of two Simon Cumbers Media Challenge Fund Grants, which were funded by The Department of Foreign Affairs and has an MFA in Photography from University of Ulster, Belfast.
Noorderlicht is an internationally oriented institute for photography based in the Netherlands that provides a podium for talented photographers from all corners of the earth. Their festivals have focused on photography from the Arab world to Africa, as well a various other events for which they have become internationally renown.
Images © Jean Curran, from her series “Neither Here, Nor There”