Notifcation of art exhibition within Galway Arts Centre. The exhibition was titled One of Many and was created by artist Jennifer Trouton.
The research which formed the basis of Trouton's work stemmed from my PhD thesis 'The provision of abortion in Northern Ireland: 1900 to 1968'.
In One of Many, Trouton considers the women impacted by societal and religious attempts to suppress reproductive rights in Ireland. Her work highlights, how, regardless of continued attempts to reduce the influence and autonomy of women, women still accessed the tools necessary to control their own reproductive destinies. In many cases, they found the objects of their own emancipation in the domestic spaces that were assigned to them.
The body of work, which initially appears reassuringly familiar, is presented in nostalgic hues which evoke a sense of comfort and security. However, many of the familiar objects depicted, hide a duality of purpose. In the hands of countless women, the benign functionality of knitting needles, soaps, washing powders and herbal teas, were repurposed as tools in the female struggle for autonomy and control of their physical and emotional needs.
The shame and stigma attached to abortion has silenced and isolated the women of this country for generations. This allowed them to be marked out as something different from the norm; a deviant; a fallen woman with a secret that must never be told. In reality, these individual and highly personal narratives are not bonds of shame. They are common stories that weave through the lives of the women of this country. Although every woman has her own story to tell, she is not alone, and like the artist Trouton, she is one of many.