Public and Private Commissions

Throughout his career Emmet Kane has produced a large body of public and private commissions.


Murky History, textured oak, 23c gold leaf and metal nails, 2008

A Journey of Hope, ebonised pine with blue pearlescent ink, glass base with steel nails, 2008

Throughout his career Emmet Kane has produced a large body of public and private commissions. In 2008 he was invited to contribute to the Historical Woods of America project. The Rappahannock River Crib Dam in Fredericksburg, Virginia was built in 1854 by Irish immigrants escaping the aftermath of the Great Famine. From 1845 to 1849 people in Ireland were dying from starvation, malnutrition, and typhus due to the Potato Famine that plagued the country. The peak of Irish immigration was between 1847 and 1854; during this time the Irish were the largest group of immigrants in the United States. For most of the Irish the decision to go to America was largely driven by economic reasons but also they felt themselves to be  political exiles which led them to be more politically active in the US. Those that did migrate were earning to support their families that had stayed in Ireland and also so that they could have what they viewed as a better life, at least economically. Kane wanted to embody this history and their story in the pieces which he produced for the project. Murky History used oak from the dam. The spikes represent the men who built the dam and the gold symbolised their hope for a better life. A Journey of Hope used the pine framing timbers from the dam and explores the theme of mass immigration from Ireland to America.

Faith and Hope, ebonised burr oak with 23c gold leaf, 2008; donated to Our Lady’s hospital for Sick children, Crumlin

Faith and Hope, Ebonised Burr Oak

Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children played a significant role in Kane’s life since his childhood as he spent a large amount of his time under the careful eye of the dedicated staff. In homage to them and the hospital Kane created Faith and Hope, a large wall piece made from ebonised oak and 23c gold leaf which embodies his ideas during 2008. The piece became part of the exhibition Image of Longing which was held at the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny in August 2008.

Ocean 7 Challenge Award, burr elm with blue pearlescent ink, 2012; presented to Stephen Redmond

In 2012 Kane was commissioned to do two pieces to commemorate the amateur Irish swimmer Stephen Redmond who became the first person to complete the Oceans 7 Challenge. The challenge consists of seven long-distance open-water swims including the North Channel, the Cook Strait, the Molokai Channel, the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Tsugaru Strait and the Strait of Gilbrator.31 Kane created one of his wedges as one of the commemoration pieces and the other was a sphere made form burr elm with seven blue recesses each representing one of the challenges that Redmond achieved.

Grinding Water textured ekki, stainless steel and glass, 2013

Grinding Water textured ekki, stainless steel and glass, 2013

Grinding Water, 2013, was created for the exhibition Water Land. It was inspired by the Grand Canal and the people who were  responsible for its design, engineering and construction between 1756 and 1804. Emmet Kane visited the Waterways Ireland maintenance depot in Tullamore to examine their store of reclaimed wood from the canals and the various materials which had been used to repair the lock-gates.