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Commemorating the Irish FamineMemory and the Monument$
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Emily Mark-FitzGerald

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318986

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846318986.001.0001

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Major Famine Memorials

Major Famine Memorials

(p.217) 6 Major Famine Memorials
Commemorating the Irish Famine

Emily Mark-Fitzgerald

Liverpool University Press

Although the majority of Famine monuments in Ireland and the diaspora have been privately conceived and funded by grassroots community groups, a small number of major commemorative efforts built since 1990 have achieved widespread recognition and/or acclaim. This chapter offers six in-depth accounts of major Famine monuments in Mayo, Philadelphia, Boston, Dublin, Sydney and New York City. Each represent significant public art commissions approaching or exceeding $1 million in cost, as highly visible public engagements with Famine memory that have defined the careers of the artists charged with their execution. The political agency of their construction and the pressures evinced through patronage have made an indelible impact on their formal approaches and subsequent public reception. These memorials are the products of sustained, well-funded, and organised commemorative efforts and present an embodiment of Famine memory intended for significantly wider viewership. As a consequence, many bear the scars of protracted civic negotiation and politicised appropriation, of artistic vision and compromise, and of struggles between competing versions of Irish history and identity.

Keywords:   Public art, Commemoration, Philadelphia Irish Memorial, Boston Famine Memorial, Dublin Famine Memorial, Sydney Australian Monument to the Famine, Irish Hunger Memorial New York City

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