Music Network and ITMA present the Bunting Commission: Oblivion / Seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ

Music Network and ITMA present the Bunting Commission: Oblivion / Seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ
Aideen Barry’s new multimedia performance, moving image and sound installation inspired by the Bunting Harp Collection opens in Limerick City Gallery of Art this winter. A live manifestation of the work will be presented in The Complex, Dublin on our winter solstice.

Music Network and the Irish Traditional Music Archive present the world premiere of Oblivion / Seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ, a multimedia performance, moving image and sound installation created by Aideen Barry in collaboration with internationally renowned Inuit Canadian throat singer and song-writer RIIT ᕇᑦ, Irish harper Aisling Lyons and award-winning designer and milliner Margaret O’Connor.

Inspired by the 18th century Bunting Harp Collection, Oblivion / Seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ was commissioned by Music Network and the Irish Traditional Music Archive under the Bunting Commission award. It will be presented as the centrepiece of Aideen Barry’s “By Slight Ligaments” exhibition at the Limerick City Gallery of Art from 16 December 2021 – 13 February 2022, and at The Source Arts Centre, Thurles from 18 March – 29 April 2022.

On the winter solstice, 21 December 2021 at 7.30pm, a live manifestation of Oblivion / Seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ will be presented in The Complex, Dublin 7. An aurora borealis of music and art on our winter solstice, this once-in-a-lifetime event will feature individual performances by Inuit Canadian electronica artist RIIT ᕇᑦ and harpist Aisling Lyons, as well as the live performance of Oblivion / Seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ by RIIT ᕇᑦ, Aisling Lyons and a live band. Presented by RTÉ Radio 1’s Ruth Smith, the event will feature a panel discussion with the artists involved in the making of this Barry’s collaborative work of music and visual art and will be livestreamed to ITMA’s Facebook, YouTube and Instagram channels, and will also be viewable at Music Network’s and Aideen Barry’s channels. An Invitation to register to attend this free, live event is available at

The sound-track to Oblivion / Seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ, which also incorporates music composed by Cathal Murphy and arranged by Stephen Shannon, will be available on vinyl as a limited edition signed artwork.

Visual artist Aideen Barry was appointed by Music Network and the Irish Traditional Music Archive to create a new artwork inspired by the Bunting Harp Collection. This collection is one of Ireland’s national treasures and was compiled by Edward Bunting in the late 18th century to preserve indigenous culture in Ireland at a time of great threat.

Barry’s response, Oblivion / Seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ, draws parallels between Bunting’s preservation of ancient Irish music and the existential threat to all human culture and existence. Through it she examines the role of art and artists at a time of great uncertainty, environmental collapse and the prospect of a world of ruin if we do nothing at all.

Aideen Barry, who is an Associate Member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and a member of Aosdána, was awarded the €15,000 commission for her intriguing response to an invitation for proposals issued by Music Network and ITMA.

Watch a short documentary on the making of Oblivion / Seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ

Aideen Barry is a practising Visual Artist based in Ireland but with international representation. In 2020 she was elected to the Royal Hibernian Academy as an ARHA member. She is also a member of Aosdána and lectures in several universities and schools of visual art.

Selected projects include exhibitions at: Elephant West (UK), Mothers Tankstation (IRE), The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Oaxaca (Mex), Louise T. Bloudin (London), Moderne Mussett Sweden, The Loop Biennale (ESP), Matucana 100 (Chile), FRIEZE Art Fair (UK) ,The Wexner Centre Ohio, The Royal Hibernian Academy, the Museum des Beaux Arts (FR), The Crawford Municipal Gallery, The Butler Gallery, The Banff Centre Canada, the Headlands Centre for the Arts San Francisco, Liste Art Fair Basel Switzerland, BAC Geneva, Arco Art Fair (ESP), CH ACO (Chile) and Catherine Clark Gallery, USA.

Barry has received numerous awards for her practice including: Culture Ireland Award 2018, The Vermont Studio Centre Fellowship Award 2017, Project New Work Awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, Arts Council of Ireland Bursary Awards, Modern Ireland in 100 Art Works 2015 Award from the Royal Irish Academy, the Silent Light Film Award at the Cork Film Festival, Travel and Training Awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, and in 2010 was shortlisted for the prestigious AIB Prize.

RIIT ᕇᑦ is a Canadian Inuit musician, singer and television presenter from Pangnirtung, Nunavut who is most noted as the host of APTN's children's series Anaana's Tent. As RIIT, she released her self-titled debut EP, a collaboration with The Jerry Cans and producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda, in 2017 on Aakuluk Music. In 2019 she released the single "Qaumajuapik". Her album Ataataga, produced by Graham Walsh, was released in October 2019 on Six Shooter Records and has received international acclaim and praise, including a nomination for the Juno awards. RIIT has performed live worldwide including performances in Europe and Dubai in 2021. She won the Emerging Talent Award from the Canadian Youth Media Alliance in 2019.

Aisling Lyons is a multi-award winning harpist and concertina player from County Clare. Aisling comes from a family who are steeped in the tradition of Irish music and song. She is the holder of eight All-Ireland titles. An experienced performer and much sought after teacher, Aisling has performed and taught masterclasses in the UK, Shetland, Norway, France, Germany, USA, China, Canada & Australia. Aisling graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Irish Music from the University of Limerick in 2018, and was awarded First Class Honours from the Professional Master of Education course in 2021. Alongside playing with various groups and being involved in many collaborations, she is a composer of original music in the traditional Irish idiom. She has been described as ‘one of the rising stars and budding composers of the Irish harp world – rooted in tradition and beautifully inventive’. In 2021, Aisling performed with Tolu Makay on RTÉ's 'Ireland in Music' and for Michael D. Higgins' 80th Birthday Celebrations on TG4. Aisling has recorded her debut album of original compositions for release in Autumn 2021.

Margaret O’Connor is an Irish based independent accessories designer, DJ and conceptual artist. Best known for her work with millinery, she recently launched her first accessories range. After years of planning she is looking forward to sharing the full range over the coming year.

Margaret was trained by some of the leading lights of the millinery industry such as Philip Treacy, Noel Stewart, Kristin Scott, Sarah Cant and Yvette Jelfs.
While surrounded with the landscape of her hometown in the Burren, Boston, Tubber in County Clare, O'Connor interprets Irish tradition and historicism through her own personal awakening. Her creations have attracted the attention and been worn by a broad range of celebrities, ranging from Lady Gaga, Nick Cave, Years and Years, Pink Floyd, Finbar Furey, The Pillow Queens, Victoria Mary Clarke and many more. Margaret is currently working on a collaboration with Shane Mac Gowan and Victoria Mary Clark. Margaret is also currently working on a fashion film in collaboration with a Berlin based company called AT-Vertise GmbH with Teymour Tehrani.

Margaret has a passion for art, music and fashion. A sense of drama pervades her work. She produces handmade eclectic couture designs and commercial millinery collections from her studio base in Summerhill, Ennis.

She has won several awards including the National Enterprise Awards nominated and supported by Clare Local Development Company (2019), The Global Original Fashion Design Award at Guangzhou China International Fashion Week (2017) and Milliner of the Year at the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards (2014). One of Margaret's hats has also been selected to be in the National Gallery of Ireland (2018). Margaret's first film The Holy Ghost in collaboration with Taine King was shortlisted for an Emerging Talent award at Berlin Commercial (2019).

Margaret O'Connor's work is a reminder to never shy away from challenging ideas and thinking outside the box. Margaret encourages people with "Notions" to dance around these boxes.

ITMA is the national public archive and resource centre for Irish traditional music, song and dance, and the globally-recognised specialist advisory agency to advance appreciation, knowledge, and the practice of Irish traditional music.

Established in 1987 and funded primarily by the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the role of ITMA is to: collect and preserve the historical and contemporary materials of Irish traditional music, particularly those that are at risk; organise and describe these materials according to international standards of archival and library practice to create collections that are discoverable by all; present and publish content from our collections in ways that enhance the living tradition; contribute to the knowledge base of traditional music, and engage with our diverse audiences worldwide.

Further details at:

Music Network is funded by the Arts Council. The Irish Traditional Music Archive is funded by the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The support and co-operation of Special Collections & Archives, Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) is gratefully acknowledged, as is funding from The Canada Council for the Arts and the support of Aillwee Caves and Tropical Popical.