Written By: Fatimah Ibidunni
This week I visited the Kennedy Browne exhibit at the Krannert Art Museum. Prior to arrival, I had no clue what I would be getting myself into. I arrived about 30 minutes prior to the close of the exhibit expecting to be one of the last stragglers for the day. To my surprise, I noticed that there was a gathering happening around the art that I had come to see. Standing in the middle of the crowd were the actual artists of the exhibit, Gareth Kennedy and Sarah Browne.
I gained some context behind the art while standing there, learning about the many dialects that exist in Dublin and their ideas behind some of the artwork. The audience was engaged with the conversations the artist was having with them. I admittedly was lost in the conversations because I had entered the room well into the discussion missing most of the dialogue. It was still a great opportunity to hear from the artist.
I did take time to walk around and explore the pieces myself. I particularly was interested in a hologram which spoke about being fired from his job. Rather than being upset, he talked about how it was a great thing that happened to him. To be relieved of corporate pressures to conform. He repeatedly told the viewer to leave their job as soon as they got the chance. He said that it would be the best thing for everyone. It was interesting listening to that, because of the situation that I am in with deciding between entrepreneurship and corporate America it forced me to evaluate my choices based on his words. The fact that art can evoke an emotion like that is crazy.
I further walked around and got the sense that Kennedy Browne’s work was eluding to the destruction that corporations have on the state of Ireland. From startups popping up everywhere in reflection to Silicon Valley in America to the large diverse landscape in the country to the constraints of society.
In one piece of work, a map of Ireland was shown and rather than the names of cities being listed, symptoms of illnesses were listed as side-effects. It seems that the artists do not agree with the systems of Ireland and that they are causing more harm than good. I think that America can be compared to Ireland in this instance with all of the political drama occuring in our society.
The Kennedy Browne exhibit was a chance to look at a global perspective. I enjoyed hearing the artists speak and view the pieces.