The Integration Question with Princess Pamela Toyin: Mulhuddart comes to life in new community art exhibition
2019-01-01 13:01:59 -


By Princess Pamela Toyin


There may have been no better way to amplify the relevance of grassroots perspectives than the way Michael McLoughlin recently amplified community voices in an exhibition depicting a personal and collective journey of struggle, challenges, resilience and hope.

The ‘Mulhuddart Satellite’ exhibition features spatial recordings of conversations between community groups the west Dublin suburb, it’s name an anglicisation of Mullach Eadartha, or the Milking Hill. It drew on local archaeology and changes of what Mulhuddart once was over several centuries.

Welcoming participants, locals and others to the exhibition, Emer McGowan director of Draiocht – a multi-purpose arts and entertainment centre in the heart of Dublin 15 – remarked that it was “about us connecting with the people in Mulhuddart in all its wondrous diversity, and it is really important for us to make this connection.”

Integration being key to community development, Draiocht wanted the exhibition to present visions of Mulhuddart as showcased by community networks, clubs and groups who help define the continually developing, vibrant area.

Expressing satisfaction at the turnout, Michael McLoughlin went on to explain: “The role I was asked to take on was that of ‘diviner’ – coined by Sharon Murphy, curator in residence – to spend time in Mulhuddart developing understanding of the communities within it, and in turn begin to suggest possible linkages between Draiocht, Mulhuddart residents, and the participations that could build potential points of connection.”

Visitors at the exhibition negotiated their way through conversation, stories and chats heard from banks of speakers hanging from the gallery ceiling. The 63 speakers feature spatial recordings of interaction between community groups which included the African Radio Network, Foróige, Blanchardstown Traveller Development Group, Bingo in Mulhuddart Community, Children 4 World Children and others.

The exhibition also presents a number of maps of Mulhuddart through audio recordings, drawings, radio broadcasts and soundscapes, and the participation by these different groups and individuals brought alive the past history and current voices within the area. “The aim is the interactions between the people who define Mulhuddart,” said McLoughlin.

Liza, a local resident, says she believes exhibitions like this can transform the mind. “Mulhuddart was known to be a notorious area where everyone feared to go or be associated with and in the past, no one would interact with any neighbour or be willing to belong to any group in the area, but we are happy things have gradually changed over the years.”

Caroline Cowley, public art co-ordinator for Draiocht, commended the exhibition as “the beginning of something which is hugely transformative for the community that participated in Mulhuddart”.

Art, she said, “has the power to reflect our true selves and Michael’s research over the year and a half has uncovered so much of what would have remained unseen. Now that it’s visible, the community can feel proud and we can take notice of the layers of connection made.”

Rebecca Omokaro of the African Radio Community, one of the voices featured in the installation, said: “Mulhuddart was a village before, but now it is open and has a name. I am happy to be here and to have participated.”

Another participant, Habeeb Eyinola, expressed delight at the whole experience: “Michael McLoughlin has shown rare ingenuity with this artistic innovation.”


Mulhuddart Satellite runs till 26 February at Draiocht, Blanchardstown Centre.


- Princess Pamela Toyin is a journalist, author and TV presenter who has gained experience since the mid 1980s working in various fields and interacting with people of different tribes and ethnicity. With her passion for diversity, she is propelled to report a diverse range of issues that facilitate intercultural dialogue and integration, which can change social, economic, and cultural stereotypes, and believes there are lessons to be learned from everyone. Talk to her on +353 (0) 87 417 9640 or email

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