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09 December 2020: National Museum of Ireland acquires works from Alison Lowry: (A) Dressing our Hidden Truths for the national collection

The National Museum of Ireland has announced that it has acquired a selection of work by the award-winning glass artist Alison Lowry, for its permanent collection. The work formed part of the Alison Lowry: (A) Dressing Our Hidden Truths Exhibition, which is an artistic response to the shameful parts of our recent past that were hidden truths for many years, including Magdalene Laundries, Mother & Baby Homes and Industrial Schools.
The work by Alison Lowry, which has been on display at the NMI – Decorative Arts and History, Collins Barracks since March 2019, also explores experiences the ongoing hidden truths of rape culture, consent and domestic violence. Features include suspended sand-cast pâte de verre christening robes spread across two rooms serving as a commentary on the Tuam Mother and Baby Home revelations, and audio testimony and poetry from those who experienced the industrial school system and Magdalene Laundries.
Alison Lowry: (A) dressing our Hidden Truths provoked a strong public reaction when it opened and has subsequently remained one of the most visited exhibitions within the Museum. There is no other glass artist in Europe, of the standing of Alison Lowry, who so pointedly and effectively comments through her work, with such strong political, social and emotional overtones. The exhibition was recognised with a prestigious honourable mention at the recent Global Fine Arts Awards earlier this year.
The acquisition forms part of the Museum’s Contemporary Collecting Strategy, given the significance of the exhibition for different segments of Irish society and the exceptionally high quality of the objects. Having already previously acquired a signature object in the exhibition – A New Skin – the NMI will now be able to tour the exhibition nationally, and internationally, and it is planned that the artwork will ultimately form part of the 20th Century History of Ireland Galleries at the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, which are scheduled to open in 2023.
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD “The issues that Alison Lowry touches on in this Exhibition are a part of our history and culture that we are not proud of and, for that reason, it is all the more important that we never forget them. I am glad that they will now take a deserved place in the permanent collection of our national museum, and I encourage anyone who has not yet seen the Exhibition to pay a visit to it now that the doors of the National Museum of Ireland are open again.”
Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Lynn Scarff, said; “I think it is so important as a national cultural institution that we create spaces to reflect on our recent history and also to reflect on traumatic aspects of our past, and the inclusion of this exhibition in our permanent collections demonstrates that.”
Head of Collections and Learning and curator of Alison Lowry: (A)Dressing our Hidden Truths Exhibition, Dr Audrey Whitty, said; “A function of the National Museum of Ireland is to preserve and present the history of Ireland and a vast span of time in the 20th century involved the Magdalene Laundry system.  Alison’s work is a very profound and moving tribute to those women, and indeed to their children, and it is fitting that it will now remain within our national collection for generations to come to bear witness to, and learn from.”
Media Contact:
  • Sinéad McGovern, Q4 Public Relations, 087 6411625
Notes to editor:
Alison Lowry: (A) Dressing our Hidden Truths exhibition is available to view on the following link;
About the National Museum of Ireland
The National Museum of Ireland is the nation’s premier cultural institution and home to the greatest collections of Irish heritage, culture and history. Admission is free.
The National Museum of Ireland has 4 public sites, and a Collections Repository: 
  • National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology (Kildare Street, Dublin)
  • National Museum of Ireland – Natural History (Merrion Street, Dublin)
  • National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History (Collins Barracks, Dublin)
  • National Museum of Ireland – Country Life (Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo)
  • Collections Resource Centre (Swords(Not open to the public)
Currently at Level 5 all Museum are closed to the Public however please engage with us on the following platforms;
Instagram:  @nationalmuseumofireland

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