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Youth Suicide Exhibition at An Gailearaí Gaoth Dobhair

Youth Suicide


A very important exhibition called Lived Lives on the subject of youth suicide in Ireland is being held at An Gailearaí, Industrial Estate, Gaoth Dobhair this October. The exhibition was officially opened on Friday last and will continue until Saturday 14th October.


Lived Lives at An Gailearaí is organised by Donegal County Council in partnership with the HSE, as part of the ‘Connecting for Life Donegal Suicide Prevention Action Plan’. It builds on the success of the Lived Lives exhibition held at Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny in November 2013 and Fort Dunree, Inishowen in October 2016.


Lived Lives is an immersive exhibition comprising objects belonging to young people who died by suicide and artworks made by Buncrana born artist Dr. Seamus McGuinness. The exhibition is comprised of Lived Lives Archives - objects and images associated with the suicide-deceased - and two large-scale installations by Seamus McGuinness, ‘21g’ and the ‘Lost Portrait Gallery’. A number of short research films documenting the poignant views of the bereaved families and the key developments of the project to date will also be featured.                                                                                                                                                                                 

The Lived Lives art and research project was initiated in 2006 by Seamus McGuinness and psychiatrist and clinical researcher Professor Kevin M. Malone, University College Dublin, author of the Suicide In Ireland Report ( Seamus and Kevin interviewed 104 families from 23 Irish counties, who responded to invitations via local newspaper advertisements to take part in the Suicide in Ireland Survey / Lived Lives Project.


Following informed conversational interviews, belongings and stories associated with the suicide deceased were donated by over 46 of the families to the artist. From these donations of objects, images, writing and stories, McGuinness made a series of artworks-in-progress, which were initially presented back to the families for private feedback and their approval to display these works in the public domain. The process was informed by conversations mainly held around the bereaved families’ kitchen tables and subsequent family engagements with the Lived Lives works-in-progress, in various locations around the country. As such, the families became co-creators and co-curators of the works.


The exhibition is not presented in the usual unmediated way where people walk off the street. The artist is present at all times and there will also a bereavement support person in attendance. A key element of the exhibition is a programme of mediated school and community visits, comprising of an introduction and brief tour, an opportunity to personally explore the exhibition and finally a debriefing conversation with each group.


Specific group sessions organised at An Gailearaí, Gaoth Dobhair include one for First Responders (consisting of , An Garda Síochána, the Clergy, GPs and Ambulance and Fire Services) on Wednesday October 11th at 7pm and one for Sports Organisations on Thursday October 12th at 7pm. To book a place on either of these two sessions please email Shaun Hannigan at the Regional Cultural Centre on [email protected] or telephone the RCC on 0749129186.


An open public session will be held on Saturday 14th at 2pm, please email Una Campbell at An Gailearaí on [email protected] or telephone 0863796949 to book a place.

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