The upheavals of the First World War find an echo in the refugee crisis now taking place in Europe. The mass mobilisation of troops stationed across the continent 100 years ago left an architectural legacy: the Nissen hut, the familiar curved structure we associate with barracks, refugee camps and internment blocks, was invented by a British Army officer in 1916 to house soldiers and supplies.
Irish artist Anne Tallentire explored the Nissen hut in the context of a new humanitarian crisis. Shelter connected local history, global news, and technological innovation. The project was founded on research conducted by Tallentire in collaboration with archivists and historians, to which the artist responded with a range of media, including drawing, montage, photography and film. You were invited to visit her as she worked at an open studio in Building Eighty81, itself a former army barracks in Derry-Londonderry.
To conclude Shelter, Tallentire worked with architects, activists and community volunteers to produce structural templates concerned with living, moving and thinking. The final work, reflecting the artist’s longstanding interest in cultural displacement and conditions of daily life, was constructed and exhibited in outdoor public spaces on Ebrington Square in Derry-Londonderry, at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, and in Limerick.
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and Nerve Centre