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Faces of Ireland Exhibition To Illuminate Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport

October 11, 2011

Pictured are six of the images on display, clockwise from top: Brian O'Driscoll, Sarah Bolger, Sean MacMahon, Enda Kenny, Aimee Aherne and Gabriel Byrne


Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2 is to host a major exhibition of photographic portraits.

The FACES OF IRELAND exhibition features images of people from Ireland’s 32 counties photographed by artist Kevin Abosch over the past two years. Abosch, an internationally renowned photographer and visual artist whose work has appeared on more than 500 magazine covers, has photographed 250 people for his Dublin Airport exhibition.

“These 250 different faces represent the citizenry of the island of Ireland,” according to Abosch. “Some of the faces you’ll recognise immediately, some of them might appear a little bit familiar, while others you won’t know at all.”

About half of the faces in the exhibition will be in some way familiar, as Abosch has photographed a selection of politicians, actors, entertainers and sports stars as part of the FACES OF IRELAND project. Famous faces include actors Gabriel Byrne and Pierce Brosnan, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, President Mary McAleese, singer Sinéad O’Connor, golfers Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, and Graeme McDowell, Kerry footballer Colm Cooper, Ireland rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll and RTE presenters Miriam O’Callaghan, and Ryan Tubridy. None of the photographs in the FACES OF IRELAND project have been exhibited in public previously.

Each photograph is 44 inches square and they will be exhibited without captions. “The images show everyone as equals,” said Abosch. ”It’s not about the heroes or the villains among us; it’s about humans.”

The 250 subjects were all photographed against a black background and lit in the same formal manner. “Everybody was photographed the same way. Whether you’re the Taoiseach or an eight year-old girl, you get the same treatment. It’s a very democratic process.”

Abosch steered away from pandering to classic stereotypes of Irish people. His subjects were chosen partly at random and partly to reflect modern Ireland in all its facets. “Each face, each citizen, contributes to the fabric of Irish society. This naturally includes immigrants. There are rich and poor, as well as octogenarians and babies among the faces, but I didn’t adhere to a socio-political or scientific methodology in choosing my subjects. This is art for the sake of art. FACES OF IRELAND is the citizenry of Ireland manifested as art.”

Abosch, who moved back to Ireland three years ago, started photographing faces in the Dublin suburb of Rathmines where he lived at the time and then expanded the project to encompass all of Dublin. “When I considered that half the people I met were actually from somewhere else, I thought it made more sense to include the entire island.”

When the project was almost complete, Abosch approached the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) to discuss potentially exhibiting FACES OF IRELAND at Dublin Airport. “I wanted to show the work in a large public space and the airport provides the perfect platform,” according to Abosch. “T2 is a spectacular work of architecture, has fantastic natural light throughout and the juxtaposition of 250 huge portraits with a transient audience entering and leaving the country every day really excites me. I can’t think of a better space in which to show them to the public, both Irish and international.”

The Faces of Ireland exhibition is running throughout the airside (beyond security) areas of Terminal 2 from October 2011 for 12 months. A soft copy exhibition catalogue and a hard cover coffee table book of the work will also be available with proceeds going to DAA’s Charity of the Year, which for 2011 is 3Ts Turning the Tide of Suicide.

About Kevin Abosch
Kevin Abosch (born 1969) is an Irish visual artist and one of the world’s most sought after portrait photographers. His work has graced the covers of more than 500 magazines and has been shown in museums in Europe and North America. Abosch has photographed international stars such as Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, and Scarlett Johansson. Dividing his time between Dublin and Paris, Abosch spent the past two years working on the FACES OF IRELAND project and is also simultaneously compiling a FACES OF PARIS exhibition.

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