Saturday 24 March 2018

Hairdresser mixes music, film and photos for multiculturalism

Part of the 'Mixed and Mumbled' installation Innessa Brophy
Part of the 'Mixed and Mumbled' installation Innessa Brophy
School friends Adesola Akintinyo, Sam Pony and Grace Kelly

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Reporter

A HAIRDRESSER has devised an art project to celebrate the ethnic diversity of the population of her home town.

Connie Byrne Hyland spent three months creating the installation 'Mixed and Mumbled' using people of all races and nationalities who visited her Carlow hair salon.

"I used the word 'mixed' in the title because the people featured are a mix of all the nationalities, and 'mumbled' because so often things get missed in the translation," she said.

"Right now, a lot of Irish people want foreign nationals to leave Ireland so they can reclaim their country. They miss the point that all these people are contributing to our society by working here, being educated here, or raising their families here," Ms Byrne Hyland told the Irish Independent.

The opening night of the project -- featuring film, photography and music -- takes place at the Visual Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow on September 18. It will include a musical performance by 14 of the subjects as well as the screening of a film about them by Mark Ivan O'Gorman.

Five of the subjects featured in the exhibition are students at St Leo's Convent of Mercy in Carlow.

They include Innessa Brophy -- adopted from Russia by a woman from Bagenalstown, Co Carlow.

"She asked to be photographed at the piano because she said music inspired her and crossed all borders and nationalities," Ms Byrne Hyland said.

"We had our subjects featured with their Irish friends . . . to show how much a part of the community they have become," she added.

The installation also includes successful business people in Carlow from ethnic backgrounds, including Shelly Chan.

"Shelly's parents were born in China but they now own and run the Courthouse Hotel in Carlow. Shelly has her own shoe business in Carlow. She's the perfect example of the wonderful racial mix we have in Ireland now," said Connie Byrne Hyland who has been a hairdresser in Carlow for 20 years.

'Mixed and Mumbled' runs from September 18 to October 5.

Irish Independent

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