LCGA Events

Afternoon Tea with Aideen Barry

Aug 20 2009 11:16AM
Limerick City Gallery of Art

  Afternoon Tea with Aideen Barry at LCGA  Afternoon Tea with Aideen Barry at LCGA 3  Aideen Barry - Embroidery  Afternoon Tea with Aideen Barry at LCGA 2    

Aideen proposed Afternoon Tea at the gallery as a way of encouraging new visitors to engage with the gallery context. Presented in the old picture gallery, the atmosphere of the afternoon was ceremonious and elegant. Aideen hosted the event as a pseudo-performance, dressed in a perfect lemon yellow 1950’s style costume, she greeted each guest and invited them to take tea.

Aideen’s interest in obsessive domesticity and striving for homely perfection, was demonstrated through the multitude of cakes which she baked and decorated for the occasion. Presented on decadent cake stands the colourful queen cakes became objects of conversation and appreciation. Tea was poured from silver pots and served in traditional china cups. The novelty of this activity was reflected on with nostalgia, as stories of mothers and grandmothers were shared.

Envisaged as an informal event and an opportunity for conversation, Aideen presented a series of embroidered table-cloths and engaged participants in dialogue about these objects. Given to her as an engagement present, she had first followed the pre-drawn flower patterns on the cloths gradually diversifying to stitch in uncanny female creatures morphing with the trappings of domesticity. Within these images a half-woman/half-vacuum sucks up the flowers, while another grows multiple arms to spray the plants with poisons.

The presentation of the pristine Afternoon Tea on exquisitely embroidered table-cloths drew attention to the uncanny images within the stitching and the unconventional decorations on the hand-made queen cakes. Aideen used these objects as a platform to engage visitors in conversation throughout the afternoon regarding her interest in uncanny domesticity and the subverted female character forced into this context by societal values.

Attendees to the tea party ranged from local artists, international visitors to Limerick, regular gallery visitors and a few who heard about the event and visited the gallery especially for the occasion. The delightful event highlighted the joy of informal conversational opportunities and the possibilities of these meetings being facilitated within public institutions.

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