Out in the World: Ireland’s LGBTQ+ Diaspora – Artist Announcement

We are delighted to announce that Irish designer and multi-disciplinary artist Richard Malone’s work will feature as part of our upcoming exhibition Out in the World: Ireland’s LGBTQ+ Diaspora.

The exhibition highlights stories from the vast yet largely untold history of Ireland’s LGBTQ+ diaspora. It is divided into six themes: Love, Exclusion, Community, Defiance, Solidarity, and Return. This exhibition is a joint collaboration of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum.

A commission call out for artists to design a digital artwork began in March and Richard Malone’s submission was chosen by a committee including representatives from EPIC, the DFA, and an independent artist.

The exhibition and featured artwork will be on display at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in The chq Building from June 8, 2021. The exhibition will have free admission to celebrate Pride during June 2021.

Curator of the exhibition, DFA Historian-in-Residence of EPIC, Dr Maurice Casey has said:

We are delighted that Richard Malone’s work will feature as part of the new exhibition Out in the World: Ireland’s LGBTQ+ Diaspora. Engaged, progressive and path-breaking, the principles that undergird Malone’s work precisely mirror those that shaped the history charted in our exhibition.

In commissioning Malone, we were impressed by how he has used his design work as a platform to make a case for radical change in Irish society, the fashion world and beyond.

Our exhibition is not an attempt to rigidly define an Irish LGBTQ+ diaspora experience but a platform for members of our diaspora to narrate their personal experiences. Richard Malone’s work will inspire those who visit our exhibition to share their own stories.

Richard Malone has said:

It’s extremely exciting to see a major exhibition dedicated to queer stories, giving space and presence to the real people who have worked tirelessly for our rights to exist and to now thrive.

The Irish queer diaspora has been exceptionally active in creating an ever more inclusive Ireland and world, which I’m so proud to watch radically change in my lifetime. I’m honoured to create a body of work that I hope humanises a personal, queer, immigrant experience – one that provides a platform for a queer voice to create without a heterosexual gaze, or without having to justify or defend an existence. It is a celebration of all of the nuances of identifying as queer, and the intersections of identity that exists in our communities.

The exhibition for me represents real human optimism, bravery and love and opens up further dialogues around the queer experience. I hope it serves as an exciting invitation to young queer people to celebrate and embrace themselves, and realise how much of a gift being queer is.

About the artist:

Wexford born Irish designer and multi-disciplinary artist Richard Malone, 30, has become an industry go-to for authenticity, resourcefulness and rebellion. In February 2020, rounding off the meteoric first chapter of his career, Malone was named the winner of the International Woolmark Prize, previously awarded to Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent – praised by the panel of judges for his ‘radically transparent’ working practice, revolutionary approach to research and a redefined notion of luxury.

The lifeblood of his work is Malone’s detailed, sensitive observation of form and his investment in age old craft and technique. A staunch advocate for women’s rights, Malone was a vocal public supporter of the Repeal The 8th campaign in Ireland, staging a protest at London’s Selfridges Department Store and contributing a celebrated essay to British Vogue. He has dressed and collaborated with clients ranging from art and fashion industry executives to international icons: Tilda Swinton, Roisin Murphy, Björk, Debbie Harry, Rihanna, Kate Moss and Beyoncé.

As well as his bi-annual shows at London Fashion Week, Malone’s work in sculpture and performance has become highly collectible and is part of the permanent collections of some of the world’s most prestigious museums and galleries – including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York, the Design Museum in London, and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. Malone was one of the youngest artists to be collected by the MoMA New York, and his work has been included in two major exhibitions at the museum, as well as the permanent collection. His cross-disciplinary approach includes sculpture, performance, drawing, poetry and photography.

Malone is internationally recognised as an advocate for conscious design and has worked across the world in researching and developing sustainable practices for the fashion industry. Malone’s pieces are made in strictly limited editions, or completely unique – fabrications include handwoven cotton supporting regenerative farming, locally sourced woven wools from the Mourne mountains, regenerated ocean-waste jerseys and garments reconstructed from past season toiles. Malone’s work extends to sculpture, furniture, textiles and clothing.

Malone is strongly against the mass production involved in the creative and fashion industries, and many pieces from his studio are completely unique. Malone also works with several charities in creating opportunities for low income and underprivileged students. Malone’s working class rural Irish background has informed his support of education reform, his latest essay on class barriers to creativity will be published in Luncheon magazine this June.