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MDX lecturer’s graphic tapestry aims to open up conversation about mental health

‘Notifications Off’ raises awareness that everyone needs to set boundaries for a healthy mind

Irish designers Helen Delany and Brenda Aherne specialise in graphic knitwear and illustration and together make up Electronic Sheep.

They have received a Faculty Knowledge Exchange Award from MDX and will run their Electronic Sheep Tapestries Exhibition from May 15-31 in The Atrium.

‘Notifications Off’ commissioned by First Fortnight, Ireland and The Arts Council of Ireland, examines changing perceptions about the common experience of mental health and aims to raise awareness and emphasise discussions regarding prejudice and discrimination.

This is a knowledge exchange between First Fortnight, a charity that challenges mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action, Electronic Sheep and MDX.

The aim of the piece is to open up a conversation about mental health. By focussing on the positive, it depicts places, people and objects that bring happiness, particularly in times of sadness.

Helen, a Fashion Communication lecturer at MDX, said: “It is a colourful, fun, joyous, surreal art piece.

“The name is a reminder that – literally and figuratively – we all need boundaries, particularly these days around technology and social media. It is a suggestion to enjoy the moment and take joy in the little things. We all need to make time for our minds to stay healthy.”

‘Notifications Off’ was a year in the making and weaves in a range of people including artists and cultural figures who contributed to its creation including Róisín Murphy, Aisling Bea, Vince Power and Laura Whitmore.

Brenda said: “A year in the making, the textile is one of our largest pieces of work to date and is a hybrid of pencil/digital drawings executed in our signature Electronic Sheep style.”

‘The Kilburn Tapestries’ commissioned by Brent Council, represents a social and economic commentary on space and place by focusing on the Irish creative community and its influence on the music and arts scene in London.

Brenda said: “It also celebrates the opportunities that London presented to so many young Irish people who moved there whilst also recognising how difficult that move was for some.”

All characters, places and objects were researched by the artists and hand drawn from their observations, personal photos and/or photos and heirlooms loaned to them by people from the Brent community. The artists’ own personal experience of Kilburn also features.

This is the first time that the two pieces of work have been shown together.

Electronic Sheep was established in 1998 by childhood friends Brenda and Helen. Their distinct approach comprises drawings and typographic jacquards based on narrative storylines from their personal lives and professional practices.

The exhibition will be open Monday-Saturday 11am-4pm, with the exception of May 18,19 and 24.

To find out more about studying Fashion at MDX click here.

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