exhibition Details

Ag Samhlú Athruithe

august 20-september 11, 2020

burren college of art Gallery

Opening Reception | Thursday | August 20 | 6-8pm

Please wear masks and observe safety measures and social distancing within the gallery.


Visualizar a Mudança

Visualizando Cambio

تصور التغيير

Visualizing Change

Joana Alarcão

Duaa Bilbeisi 

Herminia Ayala Reyes


Ag Samhlú Athruithe

Burren College of Art is pleased to host an exhibition of our MA in Art & Ecology graduates, Joana Alarcão and Herminia Ayala Reyes, and Post Baccalaureate in Studio Art, Duaa Bilbeisi. The exhibition, Ag Samhlú Athruithe, (Visualizing Change) is a prescient description of current times. The works by each of these artists from Portugal, Spain and Jordan employ a range of media to investigate concepts of strength, gender, the environment and new directions for the future.

Please join us for the opening reception of the exhibition on Thursday, August 20th.  The exhibition will run until Friday, September 11, and the Gallery will be open to the public Monday-Friday from 9:30am – 5:00pm.

Contact: Lisa Newman at lisa@burrencollege.ie

Joana Alarcão



Joana Alarcão is a Portuguese artist based in Lisbon. She has a degree in Sculpture from The University of Fine Arts in Lisbon, a diploma of Level IV technician in Ceramic and is currently completing her MA in Art & Ecology at Burren College of Art, Ireland. She had her work showcased in collective exhibitions and recently exhibited solo at the Faculty of Science & Technology in Caparica, Portugal. She also has her work featured in online galleries, Wotisart and A5 Magazines, and has taken part in various residencies and workshops, such as residences of land art and Rural painting workshops.

By creating sculptures and charcoal drawings influenced by environmental practices, she explores human behaviour and climate change from multiple lenses and brings awareness to the corrosive social alienation toward the environment, and even human beings. The contrast of how nature is consecutively part of the human species, and our reaction toward it, led her sculptures and drawings to be mostly human-referenced and made with naturally made materials. The friction behind these two arguments is a major aspect of her practice.


Artist Statement

Nature is perfect, but not beautiful, and that includes humans.

Assessing the impact of climate change goes beyond economic, political and social lens; the real threat to the environment is the individual even though it can also begin to be the solution. Human society evolved around myths and social hierarchies that can provide an answer to unravel the question of climate change standpoints. Researching these patterns and the human cognitive system has been the primal goal of my practice. I work primarily with sculpture, charcoal drawings, documentary photography and installation.

My sculptures are made with raw materials – clay, wood and stone – mostly found in non- industrial areas, using the traditional way of carving, as the physicality of the body in space and it is own self-sufficiency is my way of relating more intimately with the materials. Carving intuitively is a direct approach to deep ecology theories and by using the human body as a subject I can relate to social behaviours, alienation of the self and anthropomorphic views.

As a drawing practice, I create alternative realities where the subject is confronted when reaching insanity, doing grotesque or dramatized actions. These actions are a reflection of our current ways of thinking and are meant to be understood as a possible outcome, using exaggeration as a medium. To explore the physicality of drawing, the charcoal used is fabricated personally, to become as involved with the methods used and their emotional charged concepts.




Duaa Bilbeisi




Duaa Bilbeisi a Jordanian artist based in Amman, who comes from a business academic background with an MBA in Business Administration and 16 years of professional experience in Finance. Duaa found herself in art since 2008 and took many steps toward studying art to graduate recently as a Post Baccalaureate at the Burren College of Art. Her main focus is to give examples of strong determinant women who inspired her, and to promote these examples for the benefit of women’s wellbeing and as main contributors to the society; giving them hope and strength to stand for themselves and others from all sorts of oppression, injustice and iniquity.

Artist statement

I’m interested in highlighting the importance of women in society and their unique role in shaping communities, standing for their gender, society and humanity as a whole as well as empowering women and raising their self-esteem. Of special interest are those who struggle through inspiration to work on themselves, never give up, and who fight for their existence, rights, beliefs and freedom to achieve equity and, accordingly, long-term prosperity and social welfare.

This series focuses on character, strength, struggles, determination, and risk-taking. Fighting for rights is of great importance as we are still facing oppression around the world, overtly and hidden, with the media or against it. Giving hope through strong examples is what we need to enhance our lives and morals, and to bring our humanity back in full meaning and practice by participating in raising the effort toward equity. As I quote here: Prophet Mohammed- Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith”).

This project contributes to changing the cultural and classical role of women as objects through focusing on their concepts, strengths, capabilities and achievements. By drawing their faces and shoulders, I refer only to their feeling of power, determination and confidence, rather than depicting them as physical objects.



Herminia Ayala Reyes




Herminia Ayala Reyes is a graduate of the GMIT Fine Arts Honors degree in (Textiles). Her research and artistic practices draw upon fashion design, traditional crafts, textile arts, costume, set design, and her experience working with theatre companies such as ‘Fibin’, ‘Macnas’ and the ‘Galway Circus Community’. Utilizing hand weaving, tapestry, and natural fibers, Ayala Reyes’s work focuses on eco-textile processes that minimize damage to the environment and highlight both the potentials of ethical traditional crafts. Through investigating and experimenting, Ayala Reyes adapted a personal and unique contemporary aesthetic. Her daily living relationship with Nature and Art guided her to study the MA in Art and Ecology, and live in The Burren.


Respect for tradition, heritage, community, mentors and formative influences form a strong pillar of Herminia’s work. In this regard, the continuing guidance of her tutors at the Burren College of Art is gratefully acknowledged along with artists discovered there, such as Ernesto Neto, Ana Mendieta, Pipilotti Rist, Louise Bourgeois, Carl Gustav Jung, and many others, who resonated deeply and provided a better understanding of communication through Art expression.  Herminia’s travels to South America and Morroco, along with her studies of the artists Andy Goldsworthy, Alice Maher, Anni Albers, Sheila Hicks, Judith Scott, as well as her research of traditional crafts from Ireland, Spain and Europe, all inform her body of work. She shares these influences in the hope of inspiring others to explore these pathways of creative tradition and experimentation.


Her current research and creative approaches include a widening interest in performance art, conceptual methodologies, photography, video, community, and sculpture. Involving her body in the articulation of inner states, Herminia’s intuitive work focuses on what is intimate and sensitive, yet transcendental.


Artist Statement

“Every human being is an artist, a freedom being called to participate in transforming and reshaping the conditions, thinking, and structures that shape and inform our lives.”
― Joseph Beuys


My artistic practice is based around listening to natural cycles, looking for the balance and identity between the animal, vegetable, and rational world. Into the ancestral legacy of my DNA, I feed the traditions, folklore, craft techniques, archaeological remains, shamanism and natural medicines I encounter. These internalized and personal understandings are to be shared with the wider community.

In nature, I find the antidote that reconnects me to the authentic voice of my body and soul. Art occurs for me when my spontaneity flows, connecting my conscience and unconscious through my senses and intuition. Through movement, transformation, repetition and gesture applied to my materials, every creation becomes alive.

Through performance, sculpture, video, photography, installation and the use of recycled, natural, and found materials, concepts like symbiosis-mutation, fertility, shamanism, ancestral rituals, celebration and preservation are expressed.  The intention of my work is to transmit a positive ecological message of awareness to the viewer and the community, to aid in the restoration and preservation of the biosphere during this age of the anthropocene.

The realization of natural and wild dyes in my artistic practice is very relevant. Following the cycles of the seasons while searching for plants in the field, I adapt myself to finding the balance between my needs and the needs that the earth offers, in an appropriate way. The plants used for dyes also contain medicinal properties that I also use for my own consumption.

The environment influences all the plants that inhabit it, leaving a unique message in each dye applied to natural fabric. I use vinegar or alum as a mordant by putting the garment in contact with metals – codes, symbols and patterns, appear  differently in the fabric.

Through reshaping and mixing found objects, feathers and sticks, I transform a flat garment into tri-dimensional forms.

The ancestral practices of shamanic women involved gatherings and the celebration of the lunar cycles, connected and linked to, menstruation. Through celebration and ritual, they offered their blood as a symbol of fertility to the earth. Such blood also painted caves and objects, marking important moments that occurred in life. My work is an analogy and homage to fertility and life, which inhabits every woman, and a demystification of social arguments, which state that menstruation is to be hidden and dirty.

I gather my menstruation from different moon cycles, and paint on the surface of bones I have found in different ecosystems of the Burren, while also weaving bones with copper, a metal associated with the planet Venus and love. Copper is a transmitter and conductor metal; an earth element used for heat and electricity.

My intention with my art is to create a dialogue between myself, material, space, and the viewer – celebrating with love and respect the planet Earth.