(a physically bound process of forward movement)

Sat. 6 Jul. – Sat. 28 Sep. 2024

4.00pm  |  Exhibition Preview
4.30pm  |  Drinks Reception

Presented in partnership with Cairde Sligo Arts Festival as part of the Hereditas Project

Participating artists: Chloe McDonagh, Dave McDonagh, Francesca Hutchinson, Leanne McDonagh and Phien O’Phien.

Bafushia is a word from the Traveller Cant language that conveys a physically-bound term of forward movement. The exhibition title arose while exploring Jack Butler Yeats images of Travellers with Oein DeBhairduin and participants from the Sligo Traveller Support Group.

Through collective interpretation the word was translated from the Yeats drawing ‘Telling the Cards’ (1898), where it was written down. In this context Bafushia could also be used as a word for divining the future, ‘telling forward’, and for seeking out and imagining what lies ahead.

The exhibition consists of contemporary artists who share heritage within the Travelling community. What is important about this selection of artists however is the relevance and criticality of the work that they make. A criticality that is simultaneously rooted in personal experience, but also advocates for the sharing of diverse knowledge, experience and reflection.

This exhibition is part of the Hereditas Project funded by The Arts Council of Ireland’s Art: 2023 Centenary Programme.


Image credits: Leanne McDonagh; Rest, 2011, Pigment on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag. Image courtesy of the artist.

Participating Artists

David McDonagh is a self-taught photographer and filmmaker in love with the idea of telling stories, recipient of the Misleór Short Documentary Grant in 2021 creating ‘Dreamer’ a short documentary about singer Kathleen Keenan, David was nominated in 2023 for the Bingham Ray Rising Star Award and won Best Short Documentary at the Galway Film Feadh for his film ‘Bring Put Back Together’. In 2023 David also had his first solo exhibition ‘Exposure’ in the Hyde Gallery Sligo as part of Cairde Sligo Arts Festival and showed work as part of the Pisreóg exhibition in the Axis Ballymun while also completing a residency in Berlin.

David McDonagh; Not Acting - Portrait of Stephen Casey Bracken, 2024, photographic print on photo rag.

Chloe McDonagh is a Graphic Designer and Multi-Media Artist who is currently completing a BA(Hons) in Digital and Graphic Design at TUS Athlone. Winner of the Aontas STAR Award in 2023 Chloe has had her work exhibited in the National Museum of Ireland, and in the Axis centre in Ballymun as part of the Pisreóg project. Chloe was also a featured artist RTE Lyric Fm’s Aedín in the afternoon.

Chloe McDonagh; An Lucht Siúil, 2023, digital prints on paper.

Francesca Hutchinson (1999) is an Offaly-based multidisciplinary artist and educator. Francesca has most recently completed a Professional Master of Education in Art and Design with digital media, prior to this she graduate from Limerick School of Art and Design wherein she specialised in Fine Art, Painting (2022). Her most recent work ‘Movements of growth’ (2023) consists of a large-scale installation, which creates a space for peace and hope, through reconciliation and reflection of oneself. She uses delicate materials such as cotton fabrics and thread and explores these materials through meditative techniques such as casting, embossing, suturing and embroidery. Her work is ever-evolving and stems from a variety of inspirations, intuitively her works are motivated by her family, and her family’s heritage coming from the Travelling community. Her dream is to continue to pursue her career as both an artist and as an educator, by enriching the lives of young people through the joy and freedom creativity brings.

Francesca Hutchinson; Tranquility, 2023, embroidered polycotton, cotton thread, pva glue, LSC.

Leanne McDonagh is an award-winning Irish artist. She is also a teacher and a member of the Travelling community who grew up on a halting site, with first-hand experience of the prejudices and misconceptions that society has about Travellers.

As an artist she feels she has a unique opportunity to represent and record her community from within. She is currently working on a public sculpture funded by the Irish government - under the Percent for Art scheme. She has also illustrated a short story book, titled “Why the Moon Travels,” written by a fellow Traveller, Oein De Bhairduin, which is the first of its kind in Ireland and which is the recipient of many awards. Numerous pieces of her work were acquired by the Irish Museum of Modern art in 2020, and they now form a part of the National Collection of Ireland. Her work also features in both private and public collections, and since her debut in 2015 she has exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Additionally, she also works as the Traveller education coordinator with Munster Technological University, and she is determined to use her life experiences, both positive and negative, for the benefit of present and prospective students from the Travelling community. She established the Traveller Graduate Network in 2019 and is also developing a work experience programme aimed specifically at members of the Travelling community.

Leanne McDonagh; Rest, 2011, pigment on Hahnemuhle paper rag.

Phien O’Phien is a conceptual artist whose work focuses on examining social issues through exhibition formats. His work has most recently been shown in the Tate Modern 2019, the Independent Margate School Gallery 2020, and the Turner Kent Gallery 2022. Phien is also a folk singer and composer specialising in unique songs from his community, which he has performed at various folk venues throughout the UK.

Phien O'Phien; Consider, 2020 – ongoing, mixed media installation.

Sponsors & Partners

        Sligo County Council       


Current Exhibitions