The Map, a collaborative work by artists Alice Maher and Rachel Fallon is the second exhibition in the Magdalene Series at Rua Red, curated by Maolíosa Boyle.
The series features the work of five of Ireland’s leading artists Amanda Coogan, Jesse Jones, Grace Dyas, Alice Maher, and Rachel Fallon. They were commissioned by Rua Red in 2018 to create work in response to the history and legacy of Mary Magdalene and her association with the incarceration and institutionalisation of women, and to propose a new world uncurbed by religion, political, or societal doctrine. It is a world viewed through the lens of contemporary feminism and feminist theology.
The Map is a monumental textile sculpture spanning the enormous space of Gallery One. With its own continents, winds, currents, and constellations, The Map draws the viewer in, inviting a reorientation. Its richly worked surface is an epic Mappa Mundi where the structures and languages of cartography are used to imagine and re-imagine the life, legacy, and mythology of Mary Magdalene and her impact on women’s lives. An alternative topographic and psychic landscape is uncovered in this witty, complex un-picking of the established narrative of Mary Magdalene.
“Maps are neither mirrors of nature nor neutral transmitters of universal truths. They contain silences as well as articulations, secrets as well as knowledge, lies as well as truth.” - 'The Sovereign Map: Theoretical approaches to cartography throughout history' by Jacob, Conley and Dahl.
The Map comprises highly detailed hand-embroidered, sewn, painted, appliqued, printed, found, and crocheted components. The intense two and a half years of labour over three lockdowns to create the map is a testament to the invisible labour of women everywhere.
Maher and Fallon utilise the iconography of Renaissance maps and medieval tapestries, as well as the language of Victorian ‘cartes de tendre’ and moral schemas such as 'the Pilgrim's Progress', to subvert and challenge the very belief systems and power structures that these maps were established to uphold.