24 March - From Creative Performativity to Irish Art

Irish Museum of Modern Art in association with the MA in Global Gallery Studies, History of Art, University College Cork. 

Wed. 24 March 2021, 2:00 - 4.40pm

This interdisciplinary webinar explores the performative dimension of Paula Rego’s creativity, and illuminates specific approximations to Irish contemporary performance art. Rego’s rebellion against the subsidiary role of women in Portuguese society and patriarchal imaginary enacts a form of political resistance and civic agency which is still very meaningful today.

Rego’s work establishes a dialogue with Irish contemporary artists many who creatively address women’s experiences as a form of political intervention. Moving to a very different time, geographical space and political context, select Irish artists also placed the body at the centre of their creative performativity in order to assert bodily ownership amid ‘turbulent periods of lack of control over Irish women’s bodies.’ Contemporary visibility of women’s bodies in the public space not only intervene directly in the current discussions on women’s rights and social role, but also create a powerful echo of past stories of violence and repression that are still embedded in corporeal expression.

As stated by Rego:

“often what I discover during the process of making the picture was hidden, dwelling in another area of my consciousness, and then it appears on the canvas and I finally understand it”.

The live streamed webinar features presentations by Leonor Oliveira, Institute of Art History, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa and Lecturer, MA in Global Gallery Studies, UCC; Christina Kennedy, Senior Curator, Head of Collections, IMMA; Maggie O’Neill, Professor of Sociology and Criminology, UCC. Artist’s responses by visual artists with an interdisciplinary practice incorporating performance – Aideen Barry and Sandra Johnston, keynote talks, short presentations and artists’ talks will be chaired by Mary Kelly, Lecturer in Art History and Director of the MA in Global Gallery Studies, UCC. Speakers' contributions will offer sociological and ethnographic analysis and arts-based methodologies to reveal how oppressive contexts shape women’s experiences and their bodily manifestations. Disruptive creative manifestations, such as those of Paula Rego, assume therefore a fundamental role in breaking with that painful memory and creating new hopeful and empowering destinies for women.


Obedience and Defiance is a major retrospective by one of the most influential figurative artists of our time Paula Rego. Spanning Rego’s entire career from the 1960s, comprising more than 80 works, including paintings never seen before and works on paper from the artist’s family and close friends. until 26 May 2021

Main Galleries, East Wing. 

See: https://imma.ie/whats-on/talks-online-seminar-paula-rego-from-creative-performativity-to-irish-art/ 

College of Arts, Celtic Studies & Social Sciences

Coláiste na nEalaíon, an Léinn Cheiltigh agus na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta

College Office, Room G31 ,Ground Floor, Block B, O'Rahilly Building, UCC