The Suitcase Archive / Martina Cleary

 This exhibition presents works created over a four-year period, as part of practice-based PhD research at The European Centre for Photographic Research, Newport.
Martina Cleary Publicity image small


20th Aug to 16th Sept 2016



 The work explores how the photograph operates as a site of mnemonic return, in particular how certain images function as more than visual document, to trigger deeper affective associations and processes of narrative return. The exhibition traces several memory journeys from the personal to the collective, using images, texts and objects, to explore how memory work can become a creative method and aesthetic, to reconstitute ideas of identity, place and belonging. The work in the exhibition is presented as three chapters, based on sites in Helsinki, Paris and County Clare. The final chapter, responds to several images by American photographer Dorothea Lange, from her 1954 visit to Ireland. Twenty-five prints by Lange in the exhibition are on loan from author Gerry Mullins, and relate to his (1998) publication ‘Dorothea Lange’s Ireland’. In addition to these prints, the exhibition also contains ten previously unpublished images from the Lange Archives of The Oakland Museum of California. The show also includes a number of works made in collaboration with participants from a community-based project responding to Lange’s images, conducted in Kilkeedy with the assistance of the Creating Space Project Grant 2015.


As part of Culture Night 2016, Gerry Mullins and Martina Cleary will also discuss the topic of Photography, Memory & Place in Lange’s images of Clare, in relation to work in the exhibition, on Friday 16th Sept @ 8:00pm.


Martina Cleary is a multi-media artist based in Co. Clare. In Ireland she attended NCAD and the Crawford College of Art and Design, followed by studies at The Finnish Academy of Fine Art and the Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture in Helsinki. Martina has exhibited nationally and internationally since the mid 1990’s, with support from the Arts Councils of Ireland and Finland, The Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Clare County Arts Office and a number of other organisations in both Ireland and abroad. Recently her work has been shown at Cité Internationale Des Universitaire de Paris (2016), Format (2015) in the UK, The Athens Photo Festival (2015) main exhibitions at the Benakki Museum, Impressions (2015) in Galway, the Obscura Festival (2015) in Tiblisi, and Just Another PhotoFestival (2015) New Delhi. In 2015 she was also an invited artist for the international Flaneur New Urban Narratives project in Lisbon. Along with her work as an artist, Martina is currently an Associate Researcher at The European Centre for Photographic Research in Wales and a lecturer in Lens-Based Media at Limerick School of Art and Design. Further information on the artist is available at email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.