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New Irish Works IV: Matthew Thompson & Shane Lynam

By 23/10/2016February 24th, 2019New Irish Works, News

Launch: 3rd November, 6pm
Running: 3-17 November
Location: The Library Project

For the fourth edition of New Irish Works 2016, PhotoIreland presents Matthew Thompson’s Solitary and Shane Lynam’s Inner Field.

Every month from July 2016 to July 2017, a special presentation will be hosted at The Library Project for two selected New Irish Works artists at a time. The presentation will include a display and a launch of a publication for each artist’s project.

Find out more and pre-order your copies at


This project presents a collaboration between Maria Hinds, Matthew Thompson and Herman Wallace. It documents the life of Herman Wallace, a former Black Panther and Angola 3 member, during his forty two years of solitary confinement in Louisiana state prisons. His story is told through a collection of personal items fashioned or acquired during his incarceration that testify to the resilient strength and creative ingenuity of a human spirit forced to endure decades in the harshly punitive environments the U.S. prison system.

Through artistic expression and imaginative improvisation these items became functional tools for survival, repurposed to navigate, circumvent, and ultimately transcend the constraints of prison life while affirming humanity in an otherwise inhuman set of circumstances. Embodiments of memory, self-identity, social connection and political determination, these items reflect both community and loss, inside and outside, struggle and pleasure, as well as courage and transcendent human freedom.

The project catalogues a selection of Herman’s possessions that he gave to supporter and friend Maria Hinds.


Inner Field
There’s a common visual vocabulary used to represent Dublin. Whether you agree with it or not, it shapes how the city is perceived externally. The narrative, which Lynam has been trying to weave together for the past four years, with Inner Field, tries to go beyond the cliches sometimes associated with such a small city. While searching for a theme or topic he visited every corner of Dublin and tried to leave no stone unturned. The process of looking for his next body of work became the work itself. The lack of defined parameters meant that he could shoot on a more instinctual level.
At times the landscape was repetitive and boring, so my eye would focus on the banal shapes and forms sticking out on the street. I was drawn to the surrealism of what remained of the inner city. I was interested in the rhythm and rituals. I felt like a researcher or an archaeologist collecting objects and observations in the field, in order to bring them back, study and compare them with what I had collected previously. Patterns began to emerge which were then used as reference when I visited other parts of the city.
Although Inner Field may portray a fictional space, the lack of familiar landmarks does not make it any more or less true than the version of Dublin that has been cultivated in the collective psyche and reinforced by the media over the years


About New Irish Works
Selected by an international panel of 23 professionals, New Irish Works brings you a selection of 20 projects and 20 photographers representing the diverse range of practices coming from Ireland. New Irish Works 2016 is a year long project of 10 presentations and 20 publications that aims to highlight the great moment Irish Photography is experiencing.

The artists selected are Ailbhe Ní Bhriain, Aisling McCoy, Caitriona Dunnett, Dara McGrath, Daragh Soden, David Thomas Smith, Eanna de Freine, Emer Gillespie, Enda Bowe, Jan McCullough, Jill Quigley, Kate Nolan, Mandy O’Neill, Matthew Thompson, Miriam O’Connor, Noel Bowler, Robert McCormack, Roseanne Lynch, Shane Lynam, and Yvette Monahan.

Every month from July 2016 to July 2017, a special presentation will be hosted at The Library Project for two of the selected artists at a time. The presentation will include a display and a publication for each artist’s project. The two artists that will be presented during PhotoIreland Festival 2016 are Daragh Soden and Mandy O’Neill.

As part of the project, PhotoIreland will bring New Irish Works abroad at key events like PhotoEspaña, with the support of the Embassy of Ireland in Madrid, and to Paris during Paris Photo, with the support of the Centre Culturel Irlandais and Culture Ireland.