Sometimes words are not enough to tell a story or convey a message. Sometimes a photograph or a song can evoke a stronger memory of a lost loved one than any words. 3Ts unique collaboration with GMIT textile artist, Seamus McGuinness, has led to some very powerful and evocative installations.
McGuinness first exploration of suicide in Ireland, entitled 21 Grams first came to the attention of 3Ts when Seamus attended a 3Ts Conference in 2004 entitled: Suicide in Modern Ireland: New Dimensions, New Responses. 3Ts were struck by Seamus’s 21 Grams artwork and his passion for highlighting issues around suicide through such a unique artistic medium and so invited him to join with 3Ts in exhibiting this important and very evocative piece in Dublin Castle in both 2008 & 2005.
21 Grams (the perceived weight of the human soul) is a powerful creation depicting in excess of 90 suspended men’s white shirt collars. Each shirt weighs 21 grams, symbolising the aftermath of suicide, the reverence of life and living, the life lost, and the void left behind. The ethereal quality of the work beautifully illustrates the fragility of life.
One Hundred Lived Lives & Lost Portraits
This unique Visual Arts Autopsy study, the first of its kind internationally, was a novel inter-disciplinary project between science, arts & humanities, undertaken alongside the Suicide in Ireland Survey, in collaboration between McGuinness and 3Ts co-founder, Prof Kevin Malone of SVUH/UCD, and culminating in the “100 Lived Lives” project. The Suicide in Ireland Survey was significantly funded by 3Ts and a dedicated Ad Astra Scholarship was awarded to McGuinness directly through The Ireland Funds and Denis Kelleher to fund his work on the piece. Families donated to the project keepsakes, mementos or treasured items belonging to their lost loved one. These formed the narrative of “100 Lived Lives” incorporating visual & audio in a unique installation paying reverent tribute to those who died by suicide and also to their families who collaborated so generously on the survey.
“Lost Portraits” emerged from the “100 Lived Lives’” Archive. Tapestries have always fulfilled the function of telling stories, and so, the “Lost Portraits” project consists of a series of 40 life-sized jackuard tapestries of 40 Lived Lives’ lost to suicide in Ireland 2003-2008. Each Portrait image was donated by the families of the deceased, together with their narrative of the life and death of their suicide-deceased loved one. Informed consent was also provided by the families for the artist to create and disseminate art works as part of the 100 Lived Lives / Suicide in Ireland Survey Project.
Mc Guinness has a particular interest in identity, which in the case of a suicide death is most frequently replaced by a statistic. The person behind the statistic is either forgotten, or defined by the manner of their death, instead of the life they lived.