And They Tell Me Life is Good, They Tell Me to Live it Gently

An Exhibition and Conference on the issue of violence against women. Opened by broadcaster Olivia O'Leary, 5.30pm, Thursday, 28th November 2013

Friday, 29th November - Tuesday, 10th December 2013

Image: Installation detail view of the exhibition Once is Too Much
* From ‘An African Elegy’ by Ben Okri 1992

And They Tell Me Life is Good, They Tell Me to Live it Gently* is one of eleven artworks which made up the mixed media exhibition, Once is Too Much. Developed between 1995 and 1997 by the Family Resource Centre, St. Michael’s Estate, Dublin and the Education and Community Department of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). Once is Too Much was a project and exhibition, which explores the issue of violence against women. The project and exhibition was part of an eight-year strategy by the Family Resource Centre, St. Michael’s Estate to develop the first community-based model of practice addressing violence against women in Ireland. Following its exhibition at IMMA in 1997 Once is Too Much toured extensively until 2004. The women who took part in Once is Too Much areAnita Koppenhofer, Pauline Tunstead, Breda Owens, Phyllis Bolton, Cathy Quinn, Marion Keogh, Rita Fagan, Sharon Dunne, Finola Smith, Nollaig Boyd, Jean McSorley, Mai Norton, Bridie Canavan, Ann Goodwin, Adrienne Boyle, Kate Murphy and Ann McGann. The artists are, Joe Lee, Rhona Henderson, Rochelle Rubenstein Kaplan and Ailbhe Murphy and curator Helen O'Donoghue.

And They Tell Me Life is Good, They Tell Me to Live it Gently at NCAD Gallery 2013 is being exhibited during the 2013 International Sixteen Days of Action Opposing Violence Against Women. The Sixteen Days of Action is a global initiative, which started in 1991. Since then over 5,000 organisations have taken part in approximately 172 countries worldwide. When Once is Too Much first opened in IMMA in 1997 ‘And They Tell Me…’ consisted of 29 shelves. Now, 16 years later there are 194 shelves, each marking a women’s death in Ireland as a result of male violence. The Family Resource Centre St. Michaels Estate, the Education and Community Department of IMMA and the National College of Art and Design recognize the arts can have a central role in raising awareness on this issue and have programmed the accompanying workshop series in the gallery and the conference (funded by COSC) on December 10th, Human Rights Day to address the prevalence of violence against women in Irish society.


Irish Museum of Modern Art, (IMMA) Education and Community Department

The Irish Museum of Modern Art aims in all its activities to create for the public an enjoyable and engaging experience of contemporary art. It achieves this through a dynamic and changing programme of exhibitions and education programmes based in its home at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and working with partners nationally and internationally. As the national institution for contemporary art IMMA is committed to supporting artists’ work, and works with artists and partners to support the development, understanding and enjoyment of contemporary art in Ireland. Through various initiatives across all of its programmes the Education and Community department works to create opportunities for artists and the wider public to engage and work together. In the context of Once Is Too Much, the women from the Family Resource Centre worked with Irish and international artists also from the Exhibition and the Artists’ Residency Programme. Such collaborations are designed to place participants on an equal footing with artists, where meaningful exchange can take place, so that both parties acquire new understandings of the issues explored.

The Family Resource Centre

The Family Resource Centre, St. Michael’s Estate Women’s Community Development Project has a track record of serving the Lower Inchicore area for the past 27 years. Its work is multidimensional addressing issues of poverty, drugs, violence, regeneration and educational disadvantage. It provides social, cultural, educational and developmental programmes with the aim of enabling and empowering local people to become active participants in the process to influence social, economic, political and cultural change. It is widely recognized, nationally and internationally as a leader in building a community response to the issue of violence against women the Family Resource Centre networks extensively to pass on their model of practice to local, regional, national and international communities. The Family Resource Centre acknowledges that Irish society has significant inequalities in relation to income, resources and power and works daily to bring about social change at local and global levels.


The Family Resource Centre St. Michaels Estate wishes to acknowledge: NCAD, IMMA, Artist Ailbhe Murphy, COSC, The Jefferson Smurfit Foundation Trustees Ltd, Independent News @ Media Group PLC, Liberty Florist and all the many individual friends, organisations and supporters of the Family Resource Centre who donated and fundraised. Rita Fagan, Director, Family Resource Centre St. Michaels Estate.


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