I brought the dream of flying…

‘I brought the dream of flying…’, a new exhibition by artists Corina Duyn and Caroline Schofield, will take place at GOMA Gallery of Modern Art, Waterford from 14 January to 11 February 2023.

Inspired by a broken-winged bird puppet which accompanied Corina when she moved to full-time nursing home care last year, the exhibition features work made in response to this move and illustrates the new collaborative creative process Corina has developed with Caroline as a result of her increasing disability.

A short tour of the exhibition, led by artist Pascale de Coninck, will take place at 2pm on Saturday 14 January, followed by the official opening at 3pm. The exhibition is presented by Waterford Healing Arts Trust and GOMA, with funding from Creative Waterford. Further details are available from www.waterfordhealingarts.com and www.gomawaterford.ie

Artist, writer and puppet designer/maker Corina Duyn has been making puppets since her first rag doll, at the age of 10. She became ill with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) aged 36. The increasing limitations imposed by her illness took an increasing toll on her daily and creative lives and, having finally accepted that she could no longer live independently, Corina moved to Signacare Nursing Home in Waterford last year, aged 59.

Realising that she needed to take action to somehow maintain her creative spirit – “there is always a way” – Corina issued a plea to her friends and contacts to help her to continue her art practice. Catherine Drea, Chair of Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT), heard the call and a new connection was forged between WHAT-artist Caroline Schofield and Corina.

During a year of working together in Corina’s room in the nursing home, the artists spent time learning, being surprised, inspired and excited by each other, their practice, their methods and their approaches. They began to shape a way of working together, a new creative process which allowed Corina to push the boundaries of her physical limitations and realise her artistic ambitions.

“I fought the impulse to make art about this life-altering time, but it was too strong. I had to accept and act on it”

They explored new materials, but also re-used many puppetry-related elements from Corina’s past work to re-examine her new circumstances. In the midst of this process, Corina made the brave decision to face her greatest fear and create work which confronted her move into long-term care. She explains “I fought the impulse to make art about this life-altering time, but it was too strong. I had to accept and act on it.”

The outcomes of this process can be seen in the forthcoming exhibition, as Corina outlines: “I wish to present this utterly changed life’s journey into full-time care – and what led to this decision – as well as the power of the collaborative process with Caroline which sustains me. This is an important story to tell about the creative process, and it also documents my evolution as an artist. This work is ambitious. It takes more energy and physical ability than I have: the thinking, planning, execution. I am determined to succeed, but I have come to accept that I must rely on my co-artist, Caroline. She is my hands. I cannot do this without her.”

Details of the exhibition

Announcing details of the exhibition, Jenna Whelan, Director of GOMA, said: “We are delighted to be a home to this thought provoking and heartfelt exhibition ‘I brought the dream of flying’. We feel privileged to develop such a meaningful connection with artists Corina Duyn and Caroline Schofield. Waterford Healing Arts Trust’s commitment to providing support for artists in a diverse sector and fostering such an inclusive environment is something we are proud to be part of through this partnership.” Claire Meaney, Director of Waterford Healing Arts Trust, added “I would call on everyone to make time to come to GOMA to experience their beautiful, moving, challenging, thought provoking work. It will change people’s perceptions on many levels and really should not be missed.”

About Corina Duyn

Dutch born Artist, Writer and Puppet Designer Corina Duyn trained as a nurse and social care worker before becoming a full-time artist after moving to Ireland in 1989.

The rapid decline in her health with the onset of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) in 1998, aged 36, changed Corina’s creative ability, intensity and output. Portrayal of life around her changed to exploring the inner world of illness, in order to understand this utterly changed existence. Creative highlights in recent years include facilitating Life Outside the Box puppet project (2015), keynote speaker at Broken Puppet Symposium on Puppetry, Disability and Health (2018) and the Invisible Octopus video poem (2020), an extraordinary and succinct illustration of life with ME. The need to move into long term care in 2021 further influenced her creative output, including now accepting use of her co-artist’s hands to bring ideas into being.

Further info:

Maeve Butler, Waterford Healing Art Trust (051) 842664 / 087 2356143 / maeveM.butler@hse.ie

Jenna Whelan, GOMA, (051) 582 633 / gomawaterford@gmail.com

Waterford Healing Arts Trust Waterford City & County, Ireland. Creative Waterford Arts Council Ireland Corina Duyn

Submitted by Corina Duyn and Moira Dillon

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