About Me

Final show

Philomena Smith

States of Liminality/ emigration, immigration.

My body of work is based on the notion of,” where do I belong”? My installation is a walk through fabric banner’s depicting changing emotions with colour and stitching as an immigrant living in a foreign land.

“Maybe your country is only a place you make up in your mind. Something you dream about and sing about. Maybe its not a place on the map at all, but just a story full of people you meet and places you visit, full of books and films you’ve been to.”

Hugo Hamilton, The Speckled People: A Memoir of a Half-Irish Childhood.

The in-betweenness of my childhood and adult life living in one country but believing I belonged to another. The realities of living and growing up half Irish, lead to feelings of not belonging to either, thus the notion of Liminality.

I feel Arnold van Gennep and later Victor Turners writings feed into my concept of marginalisation, this was often based on language culture and religion. This I believe is a common emotion felt by many immigrants on arriving and trying to adapt to the culture of their adopted countries. I myself on arriving home to my place of birth (Ireland) found myself once again asking the same question, “Where do I belong”?

Liminality. Victor Van Gennep.

In his book The Rites of Passage (1960) Arnold van Gennep defines rites of passage as “rites that accompany every change of place, state, social position or certain points in age” (Turner, 1967, p.94).


Women gain strength from each other, their differences my be significant but underlying that is a commonality born of their gender.

In this module I will look at common ground sought by women to understand their lives, bodies and rolls they perform thought the changing stages of their lives, these issues will often reflect on the bodies of women.

Many women look to other women for this knowledge, a mother a sister a friendly aunt or perhaps a good friend.

Questions asked are often simple in the early years i.e. will you be my friend?

How do I do this? Can I do this?

The questions intensify as the years increase, i.e. am I good enough? Am I good looking enough, do you think he likes me.

We women find answers to lots of our questions from simply talking to each other.

The best resource we have is our ability to talk, as my own mother used to say,” If you don’t ask you won’t know”.

In the past the older women within families were looked upon as the sage, the wise one. The ‘go to’ place in times of trouble, she, would nearly always have the answer.

I suppose what I am saying is communication still plays a significant roll in the lives of women, even in this era of digital communication, computers and smartphones the face-to-face interaction with another woman is invaluable.

In this module I will make sculptures of women’s bodies using a dressmakers dummy.

The dummy will be used to form the torso of a woman, this done I intend to give each torso (woman) a body issue, i.e. pregnancy, mastectomy, hysterectomy, ageing body.

I will go on to give each torso a spine of steel. This steel spine is in recognition of all the strong women I have known in my life i.e. Mother, sisters, of whom i have eight all strong in very different ways. All these women have taught me lessons of which i hope to impart to my own daughters.

I will photograph these torsos in everyday locations depicting groups of women talking, chatting (communicating).

I have also learned to weld and solder, I will use wire and steel to make a wardrobe of steel clothing.


Because I can!!!!


Thesis Proposal

In this thesis i will be looking at the misogynistic nature of the art world. the rise of the women’s art movement and its impact on the art world. Has this movement change how women make art or has it simply allowed women the freedom to be artist in their own right, without a gender label!!!




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