1916 Sackville Street Project

Elena Duff_house 02_ 2400 x 3000px

Elena Duff_house 02_ 2400 x 3000px Elena Duff_house 03_ 2400 x 3000px

This is my  sculpture which was exhibited in April 2016 in the Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin. It’s part of a wider exhibition called the 1916 Sackville Street Project, which aims, in this, the anniversary of the 1916 Rising, to commemorate the 262 civilians killed during the Easter Rising. All participating artists and other groups will create a house shaped piece of art to commemorate their particular civilian. I have continued my current focus of landscape, in this case, cityscape, and lettering, this time in three dimensions.

I was allocated a male civilian called John Fennell who was single and worked as a van driver. The house I made features scenes from Dublin, which he may have seen while working, driving through the city streets, which existed in his time, but not ours. I included the South Dublin Union, as either injured, or already dead, that was his final destination. Also depicted is the, now demolished, Theatre Royal and Liberty Hall (destroyed during the Rising). I used a pyrography tool on wood to give a sepia tone, but its use also hints at the burning of the city during the events of 1916. Thanks to Glasnevin Trust for providing further details about John Joseph Fennell.

You can find out more about the project here. The exhibition runs from the 8th to the 24th of April 2016.

And below is the piece in situ in the exhibition space in the National Botanic Gardens.

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Due to the theme of this exhibition, there was plenty of press coverage, including this interview with the organiser Ciara O’Keefe, on RTE. This photo, also from the RTE website, gives some idea of the scale of the exhibition, which does just as it should, surrounded by seemingly endless houses, you realise the extent of the civilian casualties that took place during the 1916 Rising.


Sculpture Series

pearly gates featured


While in Berlin I had begun to create miniature paper sculptures and these developed into using polymer clay to create less illustrative and more realistic looking doll-like figures. These formed part of sculptures and a series of photographs of the small figures which straddled the line between being realistic and creepily doll-like. These miniature people also became subjects for a series of paintings. When back in Ireland, I continued with these figures to a degree and began to create larger sculptural pieces such as the head above, which was created specifically for an exhibition in response to the Cavan Burren and wider Geopark including the cave system.