mother tongue

26 Apr-21 Jul 2024

The MAC Belfast
Belfast, Northern Ireland BT1 2NJ


This new group exhibition represents some of the most exciting contemporary practices in Northern Ireland. Featuring sculpture, installation, painting, photography, audio and film made over the course of the past six years, the exhibition illuminates the breadth and quality of contemporary artists based in this region. The diverse artworks in this exhibition are brought together under the title mother tongue, a term that evokes our relationship to language, and our (dis)connection to the land, belonging, family and our own bodies.

The phrase mother tongue denotes a first language learned from birth and still understood.

For this exhibition, the term is expanded outwards in order to connect with methods of communication that shape a sense of personal and collective identity. These methods include the written and spoken word; private and public creative expression and the relationships it shapes; and languages of the body, be this human or terrestrial.

Curated by Ciara Hickey and Alissa Kleist, exhibiting artists include Brown&Brí (Rachel Brown and Brighdín Farren), Jane Butler, Myrid Carten, Mitch Conlon, Janie Doherty, Michael Hanna, Jacqueline Holt, Susan Hughes, Dorothy Hunter, Julie Lovett, Phillip McCrilly, Jan McCullough, Emily McFarland, Tara McGinn, Helouise O’Reilly, Robin Price, Jonathan H.S. Ross, Christopher Steenson, Thomas Wells, and Yasmeen Mohsen Zaher.

The 21 exhibiting artists participated in the Freelands Artist Programme, a UK wide artist development programme that took place between 2018 and 2023 supported by the Freelands Foundation, run by PS² in Belfast, and curated by Ciara Hickey and Alissa Kleist. Other host partners included Talbot Rice Gallery (Edinburgh), G39 (Cardiff), and Site Gallery (Sheffield). There will be a public programme to accompany the exhibition including talks, screenings and tours.