Cork: Kevin Gaffney -‘Expulsion’ at Crawford Art Gallery

Still from Expulsion


Kevin Gaffney

Until 6 December 2020

Exhibiting in Cork for the first time, artist-filmmaker, Kevin Gaffney, premiers Expulsion.

Shot in part at Crawford Art Gallery, Expulsion is a 30 minute film, written and directed by Kevin Gaffney. The Film moves between a fictional Queer State, archival footage of gay activists, a guided meditation to expunge internalised homophobia/transphobia, and nocturnal rituals.

‘Expulsion’ incorporates archival footage of Joan Jett Blakk, the drag persona of Terence Smith, who ran for mayor of Chicago in 1991, and for president in the USA in 1992, on the ticket of the Queer Nation party.

‘Expulsion’ navigates through LGBTQ history, from the witchcraft trials and the inquisition, to current debates around homonormativity. The footage of Joan Jett Blakk’s rallies and speeches are full of hope and determination to imagine a better world for LGBTQ people, one which fails to fully materialise.

Another 3 minute video work, Retelling: Dr. James Miranda Barry and John Joseph Danson, made in conjunction with Expulsion, and filmed on location in the Crawford Art Gallery in response to the museum’s collection, will also be premiered in the exhibition.

James Barry (1741 – 1806) was an artist born in Cork, the sale of some of his paintings supported the studies of James Barry’s nephew, Dr James Barry.

Dr James Barry went on to become a surgeon, and the fourth doctor to successfully accomplish a C-section with both the mother and child surviving. (Haefele-Thomas, 2019).

Dr James Barry was assigned female at birth, but lived his entire adult life as a man. While the terminology didn’t exist at the time, today we would recognise him as being trans.

About Dr James Barry, Kevin says:

“He is written about as if he was a woman who masqueraded as a man in order to achieve an education and career that was not accessible for women at the time. However, being inaccurately hailed as ‘Britain’s first female physician’ ignores his transgender identity. Instead, he was the first trans physician.”

The video work also critiques the institutional erasure of black historical figures.

Dr James Barry’s servant, John Joseph Danson, is prominent in one of only two known photos of Barry, yet is often referred to only as ‘black John’ in writings about Barry.

Expulsion will be the second exhibition in this new artist-directed yearly programme, ‘Platform’, which aims to support artists to pursue their current research interests, and connect with audiences through a collaboration with the Crawford Art Gallery, its site, collection and location.

The programme aims to platform the development of an artist’s career, and its often intrinsic relationship with the institution.

An oasis of calm and tranquillity, Crawford Art Gallery is open seven days a week, free to enter, and a must-see for locals and tourists alike. Welcoming over 265,000 visitors annually, the Gallery boasts an award-winning Café in stunning surroundings, serving fresh local produce for which Cork is famous.

Opening Hours

Monday–Saturday 10.00am–5.00pm, Late opening Thursdays until 8.00pm, Sundays and Bank Holidays Gallery 11am – 4pm

Entry Free

About EILE Magazine

The new LGBT magazine; available online, for download and on podcast. It's time for another view.
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