Alan Phelan,Hold Your Nose: Sanitary Songs

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This collection of poems was sourced from the Kilmainham Gaol Museum thanks to archivist Brian Crowley and by kind permission of the OPW they are now redesigned and republished. The small hand made artist book has been made to mark my temporary sculpture at City Hall - "RGB Sconce Hold Your Nose" - on show for one year from October 2021. The poems, or 'sanitary songs', were originally published in 1884 by the Weekly News as a pamphlet. It purports to print submissions from the general public of 22 poems all titled after flowers. They were, however part of a public campaign by the Irish Nationalists against the British administration. Known as the Dublin Castle Scandal several men were outed, arrested, put on trial and convicted. Lives and careers were ruined, where homosexuality was seen as a foreign depravity, morally disgusting, and incompatible with Irish nationalism. Reclaiming this historical homophobia from a queer perspective provides alternative meanings and uses. They serve in this instance as a background narrative to the "RGB Sconce", acting to affirm it's intention as a symbol of emancipation, of equality and human rights, reflecting differently on the legacy of Daniel O'Connell whose statue once stood on the plinth. 

Alan Phelan studied at Dublin City University and Rochester Institute of Technology, New York. His practice involves the production of objects, participatory projects, as well as curating and writing. Selected exhibitions include: Void, Derry; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris; RHA, Dublin; The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon; The Hugh Lane Dublin City Gallery, Irish Museum of Modern Art, The LAB, Dublin; TBG+S, Dublin; LCGA, EVA International, Limerick; Solstice, Navan; Chapter, Cardiff; Bonn Kunstmuseum; Detroit Stockholm; Treignac Projet, France; Bozar, Brussels: ŠKUC, Ljubljana; SKC Gallery, Belgrade; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Public works include Kevin Street Library; Fr Collins Park, IMMA formal gardens and a forthcoming work for Void Offsites, Derry. His most recent public work is for DCC/Sculpture Dublin, the O'Connell Plinth Commission, a temporary sculpture outside City Hall, Dublin.


74 pp | 9 x 12 cm