Ashford-in-conversation with Selma Mäkelä and Alannah Robins

RHA Learning

On 10 Apr, 2024

Join artist Selma Mäkelä and Founder and Artistic Director of Interface, Alannah Robins for an insightful discussion about Mäkelä's exhibition 'When the birds gather, you know there is something you must do' on view in the RHA Ashford Gallery.

Selma kelä’s paintings derive their subject matter from a variety of sources; some images have developed from taxidermic collections and some gathered from research she undertook in the room of extinct animals at the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution in Paris. Other paintings have evolved from an archive of 19th century photographs of climbers on now retreated alpine glaciers. Mäkelä weaves these images with references to geological and meteorological phenomena, alongside images composed from everyday life and travels.

Inhabited by statues, birds, figures from old photographs, comets, and fleeting moments of the everyday, kelä’s small paintings reflect on fragments of lost things and fragile ecologies. Hung in small groups to suggest subtle narratives and alignments, this collection of paintings quietly calls to attention the place for nuanced meaning in a fractured world.


Selma Mäkelä is an artist of Finnish and Turkish Cypriot descent, born in London and based in Galway, Ireland. She graduated from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology with a BA Hons in Painting in 2007In her paintings she often explores ideas relating to distance and dislocation, in terms of geological timelines, our position within them, and in terms of displacement, migration, and ecological concern in a time of great uncertainty. Selma is a member of Interface Inagh through which she has been awarded a residency in Iceland this coming May 2024.

Alannah Robins has a dynamic artistic practice, based in Ireland and Sweden. A graduate of the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, she was a founder member of the Atlantic Artists’ Association which ran a collective studio and gallery space in Clifden for nine years. She is the founder and director of Interface artist in residence programme in Connemara. Located in an old salmon hatchery, Interface offers opportunities for international artists to explore intersections between scientific research and art in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Image: Selma Mäkelä, Conference Room, 2024, Oil on linen, Image courtesy of the artist.

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    10 Apr, 2024
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