An exhibition exploring the painful subject of young people who died by suicide is being officially opened at Fort Dunree on Friday 7th October at 2pm.
‘Lived Lost Lives’ features objects, images, writing and stories donated by the families of more than 45 young people who died by suicide. Buncrana-born artist Seamus McGuinness worked with the families on artworks for the exhibition.
The exhibition is made up of the ‘Lived Lives Archives’ – the objects and images associated with the young people – and two large-scale installations by Seamus McGuinness, called ‘21g’ and the ‘Lost Portrait Gallery’.
It also features several short research films documenting the poignant views of the bereaved families and the key developments of the project to date.
The exhibition has been organised by Donegal County Council Cultural Services in partnership with the HSE, the Inishowen Development Partnership and the organisation Living Links. It’s part of the ‘Connecting for Life Donegal Suicide Prevention Action Plan’, and was first shown to the public at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny in 2013.
The Lived Lives art and research project was initiated in 2006 by the artist and researcher Dr. Seamus McGuinness and psychiatrist and clinical researcher Professor Kevin M. Malone, University College Dublin, author of the Suicide In Ireland Report (www.3ts.ie). Seamus and Kevin interviewed 104 families from 23 Irish counties, who responded to invitations via local newspaper advertisements to take part in the Suicide in Ireland Survey / Lived Lives Project.
Following informed conversational interviews, belongings and stories associated with the suicide deceased were donated by over 46 of the families to the artist. From these donations of objects, images, writing and stories, McGuinness made a series of artworks-in-progress, which were initially presented back to the families for private feedback and their approval to display these works in the public domain.
The process was informed by conversations mainly held around the bereaved families’ kitchen tables and subsequent family engagements with the Lived Lives works-in-progress, in various locations around the country. As such, the families became co-creators and co-curators of the works. Emerging from the Lived Lives project, with the families’ informed permission, active involvement, and heartfelt encouragement, the next stage Lived Lost Lives was made public at Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny in November 2013 for the first time, transposing private experiences of suicide into the wider public domain.
The exhibition is not presented in the usual unmediated way where people walk off the street. The artist is present at all times and there will also a bereavement support person in attendance. Lived Lost Lives will feature an extensive series of group visits (particularly secondary school students) comprising of an introduction and brief tour, an opportunity to personally explore the exhibition and finally a debriefing conversation with each group. After the official opening of the exhibition at 2pm on Friday 7th October, the exhibition will continue daily until Saturday 15th.
The exhibition is open Monday to Friday from 10.30am – 4.30pm and Saturday and Sunday from 1pm – 6pm. ‘Lived Lost Lives’ is closed to the public on Saturday October 8th for a seminar for Donegal families bereaved by suicide.