Artist honours brother killed in motorcycle accident with exhibition at Fort Dunree in Donegal

A new solo exhibition at Artlink Fort Dunree by artist Brigid Mulligan is honouring the 20-year anniversary of her brother’s death in a motorcycle accident.
The exhibition acts not only as a ‘poignant & thought-provoking’ memorial to him, Brigid said, but also as an instigator for others to talk about their own experiences of grief and loss.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 2:01 pm

Entitled ‘A Portrait of Life Through Belonging’ the new solo exhibition, which is showcased in the Saldanha Gallery up until July 24, includes 21 life-size cyanotype prints (one for each year of life) ranging from a wristwatch to a motorcycle, a collection of belongings that Brigid’s late brother owned.

Séan Mulligan was a motorcycle mechanic who passed away on April 1 2002 when he was just 21.

The exhibition also includes a series of light sculptures including a ‘Chandelier’ that explores what alternative shrines could look like, assembled from recycled motorcycle indicators.

Sign up to our daily Derry Journal Today newsletter

Brigid Mulligan alongside a life-size cyanotype print of her late brother’s motorcycle, and her ‘Chandelier’ light sculpture assembled from recycled motorcycle indicators at Artlink Fort Dunree.

Brigid said: “I am compelled to create work that investigates my perspective of loss in the greater context of how Irish society deals with grief. Having experienced the loss of my brother due to a motorbike accident when I was just 16, I felt there was a lack of understanding around communicating grief. It is vital that the work opens up spaces for meaningful conversations – and the benefit of exhibiting this work at Artlink Fort Dunree provides the opportunity to engage with new audiences while opening up a conversation about how we experience grief.

“It is important to bring non-art communities like the Irish bikers into the art gallery and engage with the people of Donegal who have also experienced high levels of loss due to road traffic accidents.”

Artlink Project Co-ordinator Rebecca Strain added: “This exhibition was selected from over 50 applications because it not only enables an Irish artist to develop their practice but its theme is very relevant to the community living and visiting here. Many motorcyclists visit Fort Dunree over the summer and we wanted to show artwork that spoke to their community. Last year and this year we’ve been working with the Irish Hospice Foundation on the Compassionate Culture Network project in Buncrana. We saw that there was a real need for people to find space to deal with grief and loss. We hope that Brigid’s use of darkness and light, her sensitivity to grief, even many years on, allows visitors to feel that it’s important to remember people we’ve lost and to find ways to keep them part of our daily lives.”

The exhibition runs at Artlink Fort Dunree up until 24 July 2022 daily 10:30am to 4:30pm.

The recent opening event for the new solo exhibition at Artlink Fort Dunree.
The recent opening event for the new solo exhibition at Artlink Fort Dunree.