25 is a collection of an images, videos and text celebrating Tara Brandel’s twenty-five year-long career in contemporary dance, including her nine years as artistic director of Croí Glan Integrated Dance.
Opening at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, the exhibition runs until August 8th. With reoccurring themes of gender, sexuality and strong female archetypes, the underlying thread of feminism and more than a passing nod to gay culture, this exhibition encapsulates Tara Brandel’s ongoing interest in creating ‘non-normative’ and diverse images of the body and especially that of the female body on stage. A feminist lesbian artist living in a rural setting, Tara has an audacious, bold, overtly political, genderqueer, questioning, sensibility. A native of West Cork, growing up with the influences of a strong artistic lesbian presence in the 1960s and 70s, Tara’s early work has the radicalism of embodying the lesbian body in a rural setting.
It is claimed that this type of back story – of artists audaciously making visibly-lesbian work in a rural setting – that has been part of the cultural shift that has led to a yes vote for marriage equality.
Returning home to West Cork in 2006 after several years in London, San Francisco and Berlin, Tara set up Croí Glan Integrated Dance company, based in Ballydehob. Croí Glan is a professional contemporary dance company with both disabled and non-disabled dancers.
Tara’s practice and experience have influenced the company’s direction in creating cutting-edge work with diverse bodies. Her body of work comes together in this exhibition, with challenging themes of disability, gender and visibility.
A performance will form part of the exhibition and will be held on Saturday, August 1st, at 6.30pm at Uillinn. Tara will be reviving two short solos from the 1990s: ‘Speak Out’ (London 1990) is a short ten-minute solo about one woman’s experience of homophobia, while ‘Dead End’ (extract) (Cork-Berlin 1995) looks at suicide, gender and our relationships to fathers.
These events are part of Tara’s year-long dance residency at Uillinn, supported by the Arts Council and Cork County Council.