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Outing The Past 2022: OutWest Art Competition

OutWest Castlebar

The National Museum of Ireland - Country Life were very happy to partner with OutWest and OUTing The Past to host an art competition in celebration of OUTing the Past 2022. We have recieved both national and international entries. Below we are delighted to introduce the finalists and their entries, described in their own words.

The National Museum and OutWest are delighted to announce the winners of this competition announced durign the OutWest talk at NMI - Country Life, Sunday 3rd April. There are two categories, the 14-17 year olds and the 18+.

"Congratulations to our two winners!! And thanks to all the talented artists who participated in the competition. OutWest is proud of all the amazing artists in our LGBT+ community 🏳️‍🌈"

"It was a wonderful collaborative experience, working with OutWest on this project. The standard of entries made choosing a winner very difficult. We look forward to working with OutWest in the future and offer our congratulations to the winners."
Education Dept. NMI-Country Life

14 - 17yrs Winner

Sadhbh O'Toole
Dog's Bay - Connemara

18+ winner

Rosie Dore         
Seagulls of Santa Barbara IslandSeagulls-of-Santa-Barbara-Rosie-Dore-(1).jpg


The Finalists

Isaac Griffin      
Noblest affection
This piece is a portrait of Oscar Wilde depicting his chaotic fall from grace, and subsequent martyrdom, which has led to him becoming a modern day LGBTQ+ icon 122 years after his death (aged 46) with people still resonating with his work and coded wearing of a green carnation/flower to public events.
Partial quote taken from his response in court when questioned "What is the love that dare not speak its name?"


Paul Williams

This is a poem written in 1989 by me about me and an actual event that happened shortly after I came out. * It has been published in Voices and poetry of Ireland and recorded by Sinead O'Connor

Shar Nolan / West Queer Art       

Wearing Our Pride

This is a painted piece inspired by the amazing badges, stickers, and designs that have been used by campaigns & groups over the years. From LGBT+ publications, campaigns, organisations, or just memorable home-made banners and slogans from protests and LGBT+ groups over the years - there is a whole rainbow of LGBT+ history featured in this painting.
Badges and stickers hold a really important place in our communities history - it's like a small token of showing your allyship and support to these movements, and as a way of signalling to other community members that you support this cause. Seeing these badges on others can definitely make us feel safer around a person, or maybe introduce us to new community members we've never met before! As an artist I love creating wearable art like badges, so it was an honour to represent our LGBT+ History in this way.

Rosie Dore         
Seagulls of Santa Barbara Island
In 1972, scientists Molly and George Hunt were studying the behaviour of Western Gulls on a remote island off Santa Barbara in California, USA, when they discovered something that had not previously been recorded in wild birds before; two female gulls sharing the same nest and performing all the bonding and nesting rituals of a mated pair, even working together to raise chicks (fathered by a seemingly 'surrogate' male). These findings, published in 1977, appeared in multiple newspapers and garnered considerable controversy and criticism, the birds' behaviour being drastically at odds with the widespread conservative assumption that homosexuality was 'unnatural' and limited only to humans. Yet the scientists also recieved letters of thanks from members of the LGBT+ community for providing credible evidence to disprove these beliefs, and were even contacted by farmers in support of their discovery, who had observed homosexual behaviour in the animals they worked with every day, and reacted positively to seeing their knowledge validated in a scientific manner.
This artwork makes use of numerous samples of newspaper texts and parts of academic papers, overlapping and jumbled together in the dark clouds above to represent the human scrutiny, analysis and judgement of the birds' behaviour; while the birds themselves preen each other affectionately on the rocks below, illuminated by a rainbow, happily oblivious to the cultural, scientific and societal significance of their actions in the human world.
According to records from the University of Oslo, homosexual behaviour has now been reported in over 1500 animal species to date, and may likely be discovered as an entirely natural occurrence in many more to come.

All born on the same planet.
All born on the same planet is a reference that we can have a brighter future if we put our differences aside and know how similar we are as human beings.

Max Ó Floinn    
Rainbow on a cloudy day
This piece is composed of woven wool and other fibres in a circular embroidery hoop.

Connie Blake    
Prejudices of the past, hope for the future


Fiona Hueston 

'Crown of Barbs'
The 'Crown of Barbs' is a sculpture made from barb wire sourced from the Mayo farming countryside. The sculpture represents the challenges, hardships and progress that have been made by LGBT+ community in rural Ireland.
I created the sculpture by bending and weaving barbed wire into the form of a circle, essentially a crown, which represents 'fencing in', symbolic of the limitations that some people might feel or have felt about their sexuality and about coming out rural Ireland. It also represents 'fencing out', the exclusion of the LGBT+ community in the past to participate in fully in society. However the circle also symbolises the eternal and continuous changing elements of life and the fact that the world is becoming more inclusive and accepting of the LGBT+ community which has, and will always be with us.
When the crown is worn, the barbs inflict discomfort and pain. Many in the LGBT+ community have experienced mental health issues, and have suffered due religious and community belief systems around homosexuality. Like the barbs on a barb wired fence, these beliefs can catch, tangle, snag individuals, causing them to trip up, making life challenging and painful.
The barb wire also represents many other elements, it is associated with rural life, it is versatile and strong, it is used to set clear and firm boundaries, it is persistent and tends to turn up in unexpected places! All attributes that could be associated with the tenacity, courage and success of the LGBT+ community in rural Ireland.

Tatjana Locmele   
My passion
Dreams come true

Alex Deane        
They come They go

Sadhbh O'Toole
Dog's Bay - Connemara

Acrylic on canvas. 12" x10" . This is a place I love to visit with my family. The wild weather in the west always makes the colours change. I see purples, and lots of toes of blues.

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Country Life

Turlough Park,
Co. Mayo,
F23 HY31

+353 94 903 1755