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'Straw Sister' by Maria McKinney

'Straw Sister' - A.I. Straws, wheat straws, aluminium wire, cable ties, glue, fabric, elastic, clothing, mannequin, steel, cement.

The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Mayo County Council Arts Service and Mayo Artsquad are pleased to announce the launch of 'Straw Sister', by artist Maria McKinney.

On Sight is an annual arts project that takes place at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life. On Sight is funded by the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life and Mayo County Council’s Arts Service in partnership with the Arts Council with support from Mayo Artsquad. The purpose of the project is to have artist/s or artistic companies create a site-specific work of art and to encourage visitors to explore the themes of the Museum through these art works. 

McKinney’s innovative and thought-provoking proposal for On Sight 2020 was to create a sculptural work exploring the tradition of the Strawboys in Ireland and the agricultural process of artificial insemination (AI) in cattle breeding.

Clodagh Doyle, Keeper, Irish Folklife Division at N.M.I. - Country Life noted that the tradition of:

masking allows for mischief, a liberation from the constraints of identity. Maria's sculpture reflects that sense of fun. It connects our straw objects and those associated with the farming harvest. Our folklore is always living and growing through adaptation to change. Traditional practices are replaced by others and while science has created many changes for farmers and A.I. has become a traditional farming practice, it in turn will be replaced. The weaving of these straws is a tradition revisited in a bright and colourful way.

- Maria McKinney and 'Straw Sister'

For more about 'Straw Sister' please see attached PDF.
Read here for more about some of the straw costumes and objects in the Collections of the National Museum of Ireland.

About the artist
Maria McKinney is an artist from Donegal. She is currently the recipient of a Per Cent for Art Commission from Wexford County Council and is a member of Temple Bar Studios, Dublin.
Her work is represented in the collections of The Arts Council of Ireland, The Museum of English Rural Life Reading, Europol, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Office of Public Works, and Bank of Ireland.
Recent exhibitions include a solo at the Museum of English Rural Life, Reading, UK, and group shows in the Gregg Museum, North Carolina, USA; Bozar, Brussels; Sunderland Museum, UK, and Pace University Gallery, New York, USA.

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Country Life

Turlough Park,
Co. Mayo,
F23 HY31

+353 94 903 1755