On The Ledge Of Courage
Artist: Mary Moynihan
Medium: Poetry & Photography
Artist Statement: I wrote On the Ledge of Courage during a time of darkness in my life and the danger of death was present. I needed a way through the darkness and wrote the poem as an acknowledgement of the beauty and preciousness of life and in particular to honour the ways that ordinary people reach out and help each other. It was during the Covid pandemic at a time when we saw and heard countless stories of acts of kindness and care. Fear and courage can live within us at the same time in the same way that we can have strength in our vulnerability. The physical ledge referred to in the poem is inspired by the Great Skellig or Skellig Michael (Sceilg Mhichíl) overlooking the vast Atlantic ocean but this ‘ledge’ is in all of us and we often have to dive into the unknown for both ourselves and others.
Artist Biography: Mary Moynihan, (she/her), MA, is an award-winning writer, director, theatre and film-maker, an interdisciplinary artist and one of Ireland’s most innovative arts and human rights artists creating work to promote the arts, human rights, climate justice, gender equality, diversity and peace. \n Mary is Artistic Director of Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality and works collaboratively with artists and over 50 organisations across Ireland, Northern Ireland, Europe and internationally, using the arts to promote rights and values for all. Company patrons of Smashing Times are Sabina Coyne Higgins, Senator Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House, Ger Ryan, actor and Tim Pat Coogan, writer and historian. Founding patrons were writers Maeve Binchy and Brian Friel. \n Mary’s work has won a number of awards including the Allianz Business to Arts Awards, a GSK Ireland Impact Award, a Dublin Bus Community Spirit Award, a National Lottery Good Cause Award, the international #ArtsAgainstCovid award, an Arts Council Project Award and an Arts Council Agility Award. \n Mary is Artistic Curator for the annual Dublin Arts and Human Rights festival implemented by Smashing Times and Front Line Defenders in partnership with Amnesty International, Fighting Words, ICCL, NWCI, Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Trócaire and Poetry Ireland, funded by The Arts Council. The aim of the festival is to showcase and highlight the extraordinary work of human rights defenders in Ireland and around the world, past and present, and the role of the arts and artists in promoting human rights today. \n Mary’s artistic practice encompasses theatre, film, literature, poetry, and curatorship. Mary’s work focuses on primal, visceral and intuitive responses to vulnerability and conflict and an exploration of self and the other. Her work explores an interconnectedness of the body, voice and imagination, revealing the inner life through physical and spiritual energies and intuitive engagements. Mary has a focus on using historical memory in her artistic practice as inspiration for the creation of original artworks across a range of mediums, remembering stories of ordinary yet powerful women and men from history and today who stood up for the rights of others. \n As a playwright, Mary’s work includes the highly acclaimed The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of WWII co-written with Paul Kennedy, Fiona Thompson and Féilim James; A Beauty that will Pass; Constance and Her Friends - selected by President Michael D. Higgins for performance at Áras an Uachtaráin for Culture Night 2016; In One Breath from the award-winning Testimonies (co-written with Paul Kennedy); and Shadow of My Soul, May Our Faces Haunt You and Silent Screams. \n Mary’s film work includes the hour-long documentary Stories from the Shadows, the short film Tell Them Our Names, inspired by women’s stories of WWII and selected for the London Eye International Film Festival and Kerry Film Festival, the creative documentary Women in an Equal Europe and the short film Courageous Women inspired by powerful women’s stories from the 1916 to 1923 decade of commemorations period in Irish history.