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Art Installation – Artist’s information

Aideen Gough


Profile of Aideen Gough

Originally from Belfast, Aideen graduated from the National College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Design in 1988. She studied for a Diploma in The History of European Painting at Trinity College in 1994. Aideen taught for a number of years and had her own design business before returning to NCAD in 1998 to study for her Diploma in Education. She has worked for the past 13 years as secondary school art teacher Dublin. Along with colleagues, she has worked on a number of public art exhibitions with her students. Aideen is currently in her second year of a Masters in Visual Arts Education through the Faculty of Education in NCAD and is being supervised by Dr Patsey Bodkin.

Inspiration for the Tribute Wall

When faced with the challenge of designing a piece to remember a significant person for the Forum 2013 conference at Dublin Castle, I immediately went back to my childhood, in particular time spent with my Grandmothers. Both were skilled in needlework – a skill I sadly didn’t inherit.

My father’s mother left me her sewing machine on her death. When my mother’s own mother died, I asked for her button box.

Visits to my Granny McKeown’s house were seldom complete without the button box.

The button box contained hundreds of bits and pieces collected over the course of my Granny’s life. In keeping with someone who had experienced a world war and the rationing that came with it, she kept everything, badges, thimbles and zips, but mostly buttons, lots of buttons. Nothing was thrown out and everything was recycled again and again.

Button box

And so it was that on my visits, I found my own use for the button box, this time as a toy. A child’s imagination could turn the button box and its contents into something wonderful, a circus, a cast of characters or a shinning city.

Now, to celebrate the life of Ellen McKeown – a person I have always admired – I have gone back to the button box for inspiration. A small hessian rectangle will form the backdrop for her initials EMcK. Two hundred rectangles with other initials, celebrating other individuals, will be collected from participants at the conference and other interested individuals. They will be combined to form a large tribute piece.

EMcK Initials

The tribute piece, which will measure over 2 metres wide, will sum up the collective energy of Forum 2013 and make a bold visual statement about the people we admire and care about and the lasting relationships formed over their lives.

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