Finalist – Ursula Halpin

Náire Orthu, 2017|
Kilnformed pate de verre bullseye glass, nylon and steel,  3500h x 1500w x 1500d

Emerging Category

Ursula Halpin (b. 1972 in Dublin, Ireland) is an emerging artist based in Adelaide, Australia. Halpin’s work spans glass, textiles, sculpture and curatorial practice. Graduating in 2016 with in Bachelor of Visual Arts Honours (First Class), Halpin was awarded the Chancellors letter of Commendation for the top 5% of Graduates in the Division of Arts, Education and Social Sciences at the University of South Australia. In 2017 Halpin was awarded the Graduate in Residence by Canberra Glassworks and undertook a Helpmann Academy supported mentorship with artist Kirstie Rea (ACT) during that time.  Since graduating Halpin has exhibited in Sister Gallery (SA), Canberra Glassworks (ACT), National Glass Gallery Wagga Wagga (NSW), The Ian Potter Museum (VIC), and the inaugural Ireland Glass Biennale (IRE). Halpin is shortlisted for the 2018 National Emerging Glass Prize Wagga Wagga (NSW) and has been awarded a half scholarship to attend Pilchuck in 2018.

Náire Orthu meaning ‘shame on you all’ in Gaelic, commemorates the mothering of women in Ireland. Throughout her youth in Ireland, Halpin recalls knitting, sowing and crocheting with her Mother and sisters, in moments of solace where unspoken and unconscious healing occurred. Re-connecting with traditional Irish crafting such as Kenmare lace and objects made by her mother, Halpin draws the political and personal together in intimately woven sinewy threads. She links her works with Julia Kristeva’s process of ‘abjection’ as matter, which is from the body but repelled and rejected from the self. Drawing on the notion of the abject, repetitive crafting and making becomes an active process of positively dispelling generational and lived trauma out of the body and into the object. This is an empowering process, sharing of memories that are held close and carried, while also an intimate recognition of memories which one attempts to estrange.