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Culture Club: Shadow of Sodeisha

Co Author:
Kate Aston

On June 30th, we were thrilled to receive a wonderful tour of ‘Shadow of Sodeisha’ by Dr Audrey Whitty at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, as part of Culture Club. ‘Shadow of Sodeisha’ is an exhibition featuring the work of twelve contemporary ceramic artists. There are six Japanese artists: Satoru Hoshino; Jia-haur Liang (Taiwan); Akito Morino; Mitsuo Shoji (Australia); Kazuo Takiguchi and Hidemi Tokutake and six Irish artists: Isobel Egan; Frances Lambe; Deirdre McLoughlin; Michael Moore; Nuala O’Donovan and Katharine West.

We had the very happy coincidence of meeting Michael Moore at the exhibition, so as well as Audrey’s enlightening insight, Michael was kind enough to speak about his work and processes to us.

Our Culture Clubbers really enjoyed the exhibition and said the tour was fantastic. One gentleman, in his sixties described it as ‘Totes Amazeballs’! Common to other Culture Clubs, we heard how Audrey explaining the context around the pieces enabled people to experience the exhibition in a way that they would not have done if they had come on their own. Some people said that the work itself was the most interesting thing for them, others said that it was the tour, hearing the stories behind the pieces and understanding the processes involved in creating the works of art. One woman mentioned the intricacy of Isobel Egan’s work was the most interesting for her and another commented that the pierced bowls were her highlight.

Some of the group spoke of how they will appreciate ceramics so much more now that they have some idea as to the processes behind it.

Culture Club, Shadow of Sodeisha, The National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, 30th June 2017, photo by Mitzi D’Alton

We always love to see our participants connect to the exhibitions in a personal way so it was lovely to hear how one woman was reminded of her sister and her sister’s boyfriend, as her sister is an artist and her boyfriend is Japanese. Another Culture Clubber spoke of how hearing Michael speak about the inspiration for his works, jumping off the rocks on holidays in Tramore, Co. Waterford connected him to places he has experienced along the Irish Coastline.

Everybody spoke very positively of the experience and said that Culture Club had ‘congregated an otherwise disparate group of people’.

One woman who runs ceramics classes told me she has 2 Culture Clubbers who are now thinking of joining her ceramics class. Dolly Duffy who joined us on the tour, and was also one of the participants of the Coolock Group was thrilled to receive her framed collaborative drawing from the ‘It Takes a Village Project’ and had nothing but positive things to say about the whole Culture Club experience:
“I’m so glad I went to the exhibition SHADOW OF SODEISHA: Japanese and Irish Art Clay in the Collins Barracks. Not only we had the pleasure of sharing the experience with very inventing people, we had the curator commenting the exhibition and the Irish artist Michael Moore explaining his work to us, what else we wanted!

I love art, I love to look at beautiful things but in this exhibition I learnt that art is not only about making beautiful things; it is a form of expression, sometimes like the works in this exhibition, so complicated that you never imagined what each piece of art needed from the artist to be a final beautiful piece.

From the 12 Japanese and Irish artists, my favourites were Nuala O’Donovan (what a colourful and so detailed work), Deirdre McLoughlin (the colours, the forms, the apparently simplicity) and the Japanese Satoru Hoshino (my god, his techniques!).
I always wanted to try ceramics and after this visit I definitely will next September; if you like ceramics and art try this exhibition! Myself? I’m going to this Museum more often, it is open most days and is free!

Dolly Duffy & Geraldine Gilsenan from the Coolock Group, pictured at Culture Club in the National Museum of Ireland

Kate Aston is the Engagement Co-ordinator of Culture Club. Culture Club connects people to museums, galleries, libraries and other cultural venues in a fun and easy way. For the next few months we’ll be developing Culture Club 2017, inviting people from all over Dublin to get involved. If you would like to find out more about Culture Club email us at



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