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Exhibitions Archive


Breaking Rainbows By Orla Barry

Orla Barry - Breaking Rainbows Image:

Performance: 22–23 June 2017
Exhibition: 24 June–26 Aug. 2017 

Box Office
11am–6pm, 24 Grand Parade (between the two entrances to the English Market). Open every day until the end of the festival.

First shown at Temple Bar Gallery & Studios and premiered as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival (29 September–5 November, 2017), Breaking Rainbows by Orla Barry, a live performance and installation, continues its tour to Crawford Art Gallery and the Cork Midsummer Festival.

Exploring the boundaries of art and life, Breaking Rainbows uses the relationship between wo/man and animal, and the cannibalistic, symbiotic tension between [Orla Barry] the artist and [Orla Barry] the shepherd to reflect on the primal and poetic and unpredictable bond we have with the natural world. Presented as a live performance and video installation, Barry’s new work is a fascinating journey into the land of shepherding through the lens of ‘doing’ rather than ‘observing’ the job at hand. The tour began in Temple Bar Gallery & Studios as part of Dublin Theatre Festival last October and continues in Crawford Art Gallery. 

Endearing, humorous and challenging, Breaking Rainbowsreflects on both our interdependence and disconnection from the natural environment. Made up of a series of vignettes, Barry’s new work brings us into a journey through time, conceptualisations and effects: from the realms of sheep farming traditions, ancient Greek shepherd’s singing competitions, contemporary consumerism and gender roles, to the intimate relationship of caring for a sheep about to give birth. 

Interweaving live performance, video, a 300kg pile of wool produced on Barry’s farm in 2015, and an aural landscape which touches many different forms of speech, Breaking Rainbows is congruous with Orla Barry’s multidisciplinary aesthetic. However, as in her most recent work, Mountain, it also marks a new step in her trajectory by introducing chance procedures and a collaborative approach to the development of the texts. This results in the stories being reinvented and reshaped, defying notions of ownership, authorship and authenticity, and thus also reflecting on the nature of oral storytelling as transferred throughout generations. This is played out in an unpredictable dramaturgy in which no performance or experience of the installation is the same.
Orla Barry is both visual artist and shepherd. She lived in Brussels for sixteen years and now runs a flock of pedigree Lleyn sheep in rural Wexford. A leitmotif running through her recent work is the human disconnection from the natural environment. Barry writes, and makes performances, video and sound installations. She has shown work at The Irish Museum of Modern Art, SMAK and Tate Modern, amongst others, as well as taking part in Manifesta 2. 

Crawford Art Gallery

Thursday 22 June, 6pm
Friday 23 June, 6pm
Booking via Cork Midsummer Festival:

Video installation of work open to public in gallery: Saturday 24 June – Saturday 26 August 2017
Free entry, Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm with late opening on Thursday until 8pm

Written and directed by Orla Barry; Collaborators Einat
Tuchman, Derrick Devine, Marcus Lamb; Performers Einat Tuchman, Dick Walsh; Commissioned and produced by Wexford Arts Centre, Temple Bar Gallery & Studios; Co-production Kaaitheater, ARGOS centre for art and media, Crawford Art Gallery; Funded by Arts Council of Ireland and by Culture Ireland; Supported by Dublin Theatre Festival, Midsummer Festival Cork, Opera Festival Wexford & IMMA’s residency program.

Breaking Rainbows is supported by an Arts Council Touring and Dissemination of Work Award. 

Breaking Rainbows will tour to Wexford Arts Centre & Wexford Festival Opera: Performance 20-21 October at 8pm | Exhibition 23 October-18 November 2017.

For further information on the artist or performance/exhibition please contact Dawn Williams, Curator, Crawford Art Gallery, Emmet Place, Cork on +353 (0)21 490 7853 or email

Emmett Place, Cork, Ireland
T12 TNE6
Tel: 021 480 5042

Opening Hours
N.B. Last entry is 15 minutes before closing

Monday–Saturday 10.00am–5.00pm*
Thursday until 8.00pm

Sundays and Bank Holidays
11.00 am4.00pm

*Second floor closes 15 minutes before closing
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