This May the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Naoise O Muiri, will host an event in the Mansion House for Roses from the Heart.
Christina Henri will be returning to Ireland in May to attend the event. The Tasmanian artist, whose concept of symbolising the lives of the 25,566 women sentenced to transportation as convicts to Australia (1788-1853) in a memorial that remembers them through a cloth bonnet tribute, is thrilled that the Lord Mayor of Dublin has taken her commemoration to heart.
Christina is most appreciative of Naoise O Muiri’s offer to promote her work, Roses from the Heart. This memorial raises interest in the stories of the convict women’s achievements and values their lives.
It was with great interest that Christina Henri read about the renown social reformer Elizabeth Fry’s visit to the Mansion House.
In 1817 Elizabeth Fry founded ‘the Ladies Association for the Reformation of Female Prisoners in Newgate’. Elizabeth Fry and members of the group visit women in prison and provide them with materials to make clothes and items to sell. Women were provided with cloth and the necessary materials to make quilts on the voyage out to Australia. One of the quilts, a quilt made by women aboard the Rajah (1841), survived and is now owned by the National Gallery of Australia. It is an extraordinary example of the skills of those involved in the making of the quilt and also the cloth and designs in vogue at the time.
In 1827 Elizabeth Fry visited Ireland where she focussed on asylums and prisons. This visit led to an improvement in the hospital systems and the treatment of the insane.
In 1836 Elizabeth Fry returned to Ireland to visit Grangegorman Lane which was the first exclusive female prison. It was to this prison that many women were sent prior to transportation to Australia.
As part of ‘The Gathering’ Christina will be taking the cloth bonnets representing the women from Ireland back home — symbolically taking ‘the girls’ back home.
The Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Dr Ruth Adler, will be attending the Roses from the Heart event at the Mansion House. The Australian Embassy in Ireland has been supporting Roses from the Heart since Christina Henri began touring Ireland holding events in 2010.
The Mansion House in Dublin is a heritage building and is limited to a specific number of visitors at any one time therefore attendance to the Roses from the Heart event will be invitation only.