Since 2001, in performance, stills and a trilogy of moving image works, artist Denis Buckley appeared only as the persona “The Irishman".
This distancing device allowed the artist to explore perceptions of Irish identity and better understand the unforeseen losses inherent in long-term emigration.
The persona is part based on the emigrant from Philip Donnellan's 1965 documentary of Irish emigration, The Irishmen: An Impression of Exile. The Irishman’s emigration within the film was equally a polemical strategy. The suitcase he carries and the shovel he takes up are motifs the artist incorporates.
Nostos: End of Exile, the centrepiece for this exhibition, is a moving image work shot in London and Co Kerry. Nostos, the Greek term for Homecoming, applies to the completion of a journey and is based on the experience of many Irishmen who, on dying alone in England, questioned the beliefs of their youth.
The exhibition signals the end for the artist of the persona, “The Irishman”.