Photo by Karolis Pilypas Liutkevičius / Nanook

Full name: Sara Dowling
Currently lives and works in Limerick, Ireland
Organization: EVA International Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art 
Favorite book: The Island, by Victoria Hislop
Favorite film: She’s Beautiful when She’s Angry, Netflix Historic Documentary (2014), by Mary Dore. Or Disney’s, The Lion King. You can’t beat a classic.

My name is Sara, I am an emerging curator based in Limerick, Ireland, completing an MA in Curatorial Studies by practice-based research as EVA Internationals Curatorial Scholar. I am also a Douglas Hyde Student Forum member, facilitating guided tours of exhibitions and taking part in reading groups; an International Selector for Athena Standards Residencies in Athens which has just finished its Pilot year; as well as an Emerging Curator for MagiC Carpets. After graduating from Fine Art Art Sculpture & Combined Media (Limerick School of Art & Design 2015) I participated in the Mudhouse residency in the mountain village of Agios Ioannis, Crete, in the summer of 2017, alongside exhibitions in Glór Gallery, Ennis, and 126 Members Exhibition, Galway. A proud former Student Union president, I am still involved in projects that create opportunities for young creative graduates, such as the newly established Peak Show (artist led exhibitions project) with fellow co-founder Ellen Egan, alongside activities relating to student engagement towards my MA.

Why are you a part of MagiC Carpets?

I was very lucky to have been selected as emerging curator for the EVA International team, by the Director Matt Packer, alongside the Communications Manager Emma Dwyer. I am delighted to be a part of this project as I am very interested in working with emerging artists internationally, as well as gaining vital practical experience connecting with other art organisations and young curators across Europe.

Why have you chosen to be a curator or why has curatorship chosen you?

Having studied Fine Art, and then serving a year as Student Union President, I found a great deal of satisfaction in working collaboratively and with students, particularly bringing local projects to life with a sense of community. I was very interested in how I could apply this to working with an organisation like EVA on a broader, international scale.
I am learning a great deal about elements of practical curation from administration to working with artists, practical installation and general organisation which inevitably has played a huge role in facilitating my own independent projects.

What do you think is the purpose of art?

I think saying the word art alone is too broad, as it can subdivided and broken down to mean so many different things for so many people, in so many different ways. My experience is quickly developing in contemporary art, and in working with a large international Biennial, I have learnt a lot about how contemporary art can be received within a local context. Additionally, I am running projects myself that target emerging graduates opportunities and the expansion of that knowledge.
Generally speaking, I think if art can make you question elements of the life you have made, as well as give you a better understanding of those around you, then it is a vital cultural attribute.

Past projects you are proud of (before MC)?

EVA International’s 40th Anniversary celebrations. EVA International was originally founded by Limerick-based artists and academics in January 1977. On Thursday 7 Dec 2017, we looked back decade by decade, through the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s. At Limerick City Gallery of Art, we brought together some of the original founding members for an anecdotal history of EVA’s beginnings, including speakers Charles Harper (artist and founding member), David Lilburn (artist), and Ursula Walsh (former board member), in a panel discussion chaired by Hugh Murray (Former Chairman of the Board of EVA). In the afternoon at Limerick School of Art and & Design, EVA participants from the 90s and 00s including Michael Canning (artist), Amanda Dunsmore (artist) and Des Farrell (artist) participated in a panel discussion chaired by Aine Nic Giolla Coda (artist, Board Member of EVA). A second session featured chats with Alice Maher (artist), Kevin O’Keeffe (former EVA staff member), Blindboy Boatclub of the Rubberbandits (90s Young EVA participant), and former EVA Interns Sophie Gough and Mellina Van Der Valk, hosted by Ormston House Director Mary Conlon.
All events were free and open to the public and concluded with a drinks reception at The Hunt Museum.

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