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Culture Night Carlow 2020

When I

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“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” Audre Lorde


In celebration of Culture Night 2020 VISUAL Carlow, in partnership with Carlow County Council Arts Office, Arts Council of Ireland, Carlow County Development Partnership and Healthy Ireland Carlow, presents “When I”.

A online programme of newly commissioned works and performances for screen. This programme brings together some of Irelands leading artists who have worked in collaboration with members of Carlow’s community to create these new works. Artists working on the project include Katie Holten, Amanda Coogan, Tobi Omoteso, Feli Olusanya AKA Feli Speaks, John Scott, Jessica Traynor, Tom Lane, Tadgh O’Sullivan, John MacKenna, Fehdah and Carole Nelson.

“When I” is a proclamation of hope, strength, and determination. Over the last few weeks and months, we have become frightfully aware of the fragility of our natural world and the unjust inequalities that lie buried deep within our society. We have taken to the streets to fight for racial equality and justice. We have experienced first-hand the negative impact our way of life is having on our planet. We have witnessed the closure of theatres, festivals, galleries, cinemas, libraries, bookshops, concert halls and venues. We have watched as artists and arts workers have hurried to find new ways and means of keeping the cultural and creative life blood of our communities alive, all the while facing major adversary and uncertainly, both personally and professionally. How we engage and participate in the cultural and creative life of our community has changed tremendously. But despite all this we continue to prevail through the solidarity of our people and communities.

In times of great change and uncertainty we can sometimes feel small, irrelevant, and powerless as individuals. “When I” is an artistic meditation on this and offers us an opportunity to reflect on how we may consider our own individual strength and our ability to create great change in the world. We ask you to join us in this commitment to positive change making by completing the proclamation ‘When I...”.


Commissioned by Carlow Arts Office/Carlow County Council

Produced by VISUAL Carlow in collaboration with ULAB Studios Carlow

In partnership with Carlow County Development Partnership

Kindly Supported by

Carlow Arts Office/Carlow County Council

Arts Council of Ireland

Carlow County Development Partnership

Health Carlow/Healthy Ireland


Watch each of the works here....






Amanda Coogan, 2020

A collaboration with the Dublin Theatre of the Deaf

Performed by Alvean Jones, Lianne Quigley, Breda O’Grady and Amanda Coogan - with thanks to Lorraine Creed and Ann O’Neill




Tobi Omoteso

Music by Leo Wolstenholme



Tadhg O’Sullivan, 2020

Music by Tom Lane

Featuring Tara Landers, Marina de Costa, Rasna Begum, Michael Somers, Alannah Somers, Tommy McDarby, Lisa Quinlan, Francis Sinclair, John Hickey, Carole Premkumar





Carole Nelson Trio



Katie Holten, John Scott, Tom Lane, Jessica Traynor & Feli Olusanya AKA Felispeaks

Performed by Busie Kelly, Noor Fatema, Asha Noor, Sanzida Begum, Noor Hasina, Ola Oladimeji and Sebastiaó Kamalandua



Written by John MacKenna

Performed by John MacKenna, Angela Keogh, Paul Donohue, Mary Pat Moloney








About the Artists

Katie Holten is a visual artist and activist based in New York City and Ardee, Co. Louth. At the root of Holten’s practice is a commitment to study the inextricable relationship between Humans and Nature. Drawing is her primary research tool. Several years ago, recognising a crisis of Language and Representation, Holten created a Tree Alphabet and published the book About Trees, offering readers a language beyond the Human. She recently created a New York City Tree Alphabet while Artist in Residence with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. In 2003 she represented Ireland at the 50th Venice Biennale. Other important solo museum exhibitions include the New Orleans Museum of Art in New Orleans (2012), Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane in Dublin (2010), The Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York (2009); Villa Merkel in Esslingen (2008), Nevada Museum of Art in Reno (2008) and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2007). She has conceived major public commissions including TREE MUSEUM (2009-2010) for New York City’s Grand Concourse commissioned by the NYC Parks Department, the Bronx Museum and Wave Hill. Holten is quarantined in Montecito, California. 

John Scott is Dublin-born and studied English Literature at University College Dublin and dance at Irish National College of Dance and Dublin City Ballet. He later studied with Pablo Vela, Meredith Monk, Susan Buirge, Julian Beck and Judith Malina. He performed in Meredith Monk’s Quarry and for Yoshiko Chuma, Sara Rudner, Anna Sokolow and Thomas Lehmen. Scott founded Irish Modern Dance Theatre in 1991. Scott recently collaborated with Pan Pan Theatre on Samuel Beckett’s Quad. His work has been performed at The Abbey, Dublin Dance Festival, Galway International Arts Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Cork Midsummer Festival; in the USA at La MaMa, Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church and in numerous venues in Europe, including Théâtre de la Ville. He has also created works for Blanca Arrieta company (Spain) and Conservatoire National Supérieur (Paris).

Amanda Coogan is an internationally recognised and critically acclaimed artist working across the medias of live art, performance, photography and video. She is one of the most dynamic and exciting contemporary visual artist’s practicing in the arena of performance. At once playful and challenging, Coogan’s work address struggle and psychological resilience. Her work is filled with Irish Sign Language vocabulary and littered with literary references. Using gesture and context she makes multi-faceted works that leave ghostly trails in the memory. Among many awards Coogan received the Allied Irish Bank’s Art prize in 2004. She has performed and exhibited her work extensively including the Broad Museum, Michigan; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, Florida; The Neimeyer Centre, Spain; The MAC, Belfast; Lismore Castle Arts, Waterford; HOME mrc, Manchester; The Golden Thread, Belfast; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Contemporary Irish Art Centre LA, Los Angeles; The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin; The Venice Biennale, Liverpool Biennial, The LAB, Dublin; Limerick City Gallery of Art; PS1, New York, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, West Cork Arts Centre; Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris and the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin.

Tobi Omoteso is an internationally acclaimed Nigerian/Irish B-boy (Breakin’ / Breakdancer) and Hip-Hop Freestyle dancer. Training at Broadway Dance Centre & The birth place of Hip-Hop - New York, Tobi has been dancing for over 15 years and is dedicated to supporting the foundations of this dynamic and influential dance form. As a dance facilitator Tobi has designed and delivered youth programmes for Dance Ireland, Dublin Dance Festival, Waterford Youth Art, Lioas Dance Platform, Cork, Tipperary, Take part Carlow and Dance Limerick. Teaching in schools, youth groups and established dance organizations, he has brought his knowledge of Hip-Hop and breakin’ into a wide variety of youth and academic contexts. In 2016 he was invited to share his experiences as part of Dance Ireland’s - Dance Talks. He has performed his own work at Imagine Arts Festival, Dublin Dance Festival, Limerick Fringe Festival, Whats Next Festival, Loias Dance Platform, Glor Performance Platform and at Dance2Connect among other festivals and events. Tobi is the curator and director of hugely popular TOP 8 Street Dance Battle at Dublin Dance Festival, Tobi consistently delivers the best of Irish and International street dance to new audiences. Now heading into its 6th year, the event continues to grow in size and popularity, drawing huge numbers of both old/young dancers to the festival. On screen he has performed on Sky’s Got to Dance, hit US TV show Penny Dreadful and in numerous music videos and commercials. Tobi has worked with some of Ireland’s leading choreographers including David Bolger, as part of the core ensemble for the 1916 Easter Rising Commemorations in Croke Park (TG4 & Tyrone Production LAOCHRA), John Scott as a choreograher in the Dancers from the Dancer Irish and International Festival & Bloodlines, Catherine Young, Libby Steward, David Francis Moore and Lucia Kickham.

Feli Olusanya AKA Feli Speaks is a Nigerian-Irish Poet, Performer, Playwright from Co. Longford. Felispeaks has also been nominated ‘Best Performer’ by Dublin Fringe Festival Sep. 2018 Judges for her performance in ‘BOYCHILD’, a co-written play by Dagogo Hart and herself. Felispeaks has also performed her poetry at Concern 50th Anniversary in Dublin Castle in September 2018. It included speakers such as UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, President Bill Clinton and Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson. Felicia has also been honoured with an award by the (APNI) African Professional Network of Ireland for her unique contribution to the art scene in Dublin City, December 2017.Felispeaks is member of WeAreGriot, a poetry collective consisting of herself, Dagogo Hart & Samuel Yakura - curating poetry/rap events - Talkatives and writing plays.  Felispeaks is currently enjoying creating poetry and performance pieces that always promises to introduce her audience to the journey of emotion in every story. Honoured to share her thought processes about life’s experiences and her passions on stage; Felispeaks hopes to inspire thought, excitement and perspective.

Jessica Traynor is a poet, dramaturg and creative writing teacher. Her debut collection, Liffey Swim (Dedalus Press, 2014), was shortlisted for the Strong/Shine Award and was named one of the best poetry debuts of the past five years on Her second collection, The Quick, was an Irish Times poetry choice of 2019.  In 2019, she co-edited Correspondences: an anthology to call for an end to direct provision with actor Stephen Rea, bringing together asylum seekers in Ireland’s direct provision system with Irish writers. The book was a best-seller, raising funds for MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland). Current projects include a commission from Offaly County Council to write a poetic history of the town of Banagher and a commission from  Irish National Opera to write a libretto for their autumn series of short works; ‘Ghost Apples’, composed by Irene Buckley, will premiere in autumn 2020.   She was also commissioned by Music for Galway to write an opera with composer Elaine Agnew for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture. The resulting opera Paper Boat, will be performed in 2021.

Tom Lane is a composer and sound designer based in Dublin. He studied composition at Balliol College Oxford, The London Royal Academy of Music, the Berlin University of the Arts, and University College Cork. Tom creates music for theatre, dance, opera and concert performances. He has been nominated for an Irish Times Theatre Award on seven occasions, most recently for Best Soundscape for The Haircut! at the Ark Theatre in 2019 and Best Opera for The Stalls at Cork Opera House. Recent work for stage includes composition and sound design for Yaël Farber's Hamlet at Dublin's Gate Theatre which transferred to St Ann's Warehouse in New York in 2020. A major recent project was collaborating with librettist Lily Akerman on the creation of a trilogy of site-specific operas which was performed in Cork Opera House from 2017-2019. 

Tadhg O’Sullivan is an artist and film-maker from Carlow, working primarily in non-fiction cinema. His feature films - Yximalloo (2014) and The Great Wall (2015) - have screened at numerous major film festivals including FiD Marseille, MOMA Doc Fortnight, CPH:DOX, Dokufest Kosovo and been broadcast internationally. His latest film, To the Moon, had its world premiere in Venice in September.

John MacKenna is the author of twenty-one books - fiction; non-fiction; poetry and children's books. He is the also the writer of a dozen stage plays and a number of radio plays broadcast on RTE. He is a regular contributor to Sunday Miscellany and his latest book, a collection of eighty-five of his radio essays, I Knew This Place, will be published in October. He teaches creative writing at Maynooth University and at The Hedge School on the Moone. He works as an actor with Mend & Makedo Theatre Co - most recently in his own one-man show The Mental and Between Your Love and Mine, which he co-wrote with Leonard Cohen.

Fehdah is an Irish artist with Sierra Leonean heritage, whose real name is Emma Garnett. She is a future-afro soul vocalist, producer and multi-instrumentalist, on the frontline of an emerging Irish hiphop and electronic music scene. An eclectic songwriter who draws on her love of Wassoulou music in forging an entirely new take on electro-soul. Known previously for lending her smooth vocals to the likes of Manden Express, RiZA, and Loah, and her collaborations with Ben Bix.

The Carole Nelson Trio debuted at the 2015 Dublin Piano Trio Festival. Centred around Carole’s composition and piano work and accompanied by Cormac O'Brien on bass and Dominic Mullan on drums, the trio embarked on their first recording project, One Day in Winter in 2017. The trio released their second album Arboreal in February 2020, with the support of an Irish Arts Council composition bursary and Carlow Arts Office. It has received glowing acclaim, with inclusion in the Irish Times best albums of 2020 so far. The theme of all things arboreal runs through the album. As Carole says on the album notes 'Arboreal began as a walk through my local woods in South Co. Carlow. I wanted to compose music that would express the living reality of a forest – from the mycelium network beneath my feet to the sheltering canopy above, with a sense of the deep interconnection of all living things.' This is music to immerse oneself in - lyrical, open-hearted and grounded in a spirit that refuses to give up hope. 

Thank you to all the participants who collaborated with us to make Culture Night Carlow 2020 possible:

Angela Keogh, Mary Pat Moloney, Paul Donohue, Noor Fatema, Ash Noor, Sanzida Begum, Noor Hasina, Ola Oladimeji, Busie Kelly, Sebastió Kamalandua, Marina DeCosta, Rasna Begum, Tara Landers, Michael Somers, Tommy Darby, Alannah Somers, Francis Sinclair, Carole Dremkumar, Lisa Quinlan, Jancie De Bróithe, John Hickey, Bernard Jennings, Amy McLoughlin, Fiona Dowling, Alicia Premkumar, Maurice O’Reilly and Tricia Miller.