1845: Memento Mori, Paula Stokes

Wed, Nov 13th 2019 at 7:00 PM PDT · By Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum
Date & Time
Wed, Nov 13th 2019 at 7:00 PM PDT
Wed, Nov 13th 2019 at 9:00 PM PDT
Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum Library
93 Pike St #307
Seattle WA, 98101
Event Details

Artist Paula Stokes has created a Memorial dedicated to the Irish Potato Famine. The installation, made of 1,845 handblown glass potatoes, piled into the form of a cairn suggesting a burial monument is currently on exhibit at Method Gallery Oct 18-Nov 30, 2019.


This evening’s program will feature a panel discussion moderated by Fidelma McGinn featuring Paula, joined by curator and museum director, Shelly Leavens, accompanied by Dr. Catherine Duggan, research scientist at the Fred Hutch Cancer Center, in the Public Health Sciences. The discussion will center around building community through artistic practice, honoring one's heritage and cultural history juxtaposed against the backdrop of current immigration policies and practices, and exploring how our genetics feature into generational transfer of trauma.


Paula Stokes was born and grew up in Ireland and moved to Seattle in 1993. As a modern-day member of the Irish Diaspora, she has now crossed the line and has lived in America longer than Ireland. “Despite my full integration into a new world, I have never managed to shake the intense longing of living so far away from ‘home’. In creating this work, I honor my Irish heritage and culture, and all immigrants who have come before me. I also want to throw light on historical events that have shaped the present and open a dialogue on how we can learn from the past.  I hope to create a bridge between the old and new, the past and the present. And in doing so I hope to elicit compassionate reflection that transcends the polarizing politics of our current time.” A recipient of numerous awards, her work has been exhibited worldwide. She currently manages Chihuly’s glassblowing studio, in addition to working on special projects.


 As a long-standing advocate for artists and a committed champion of the creative process, Fidelma McGinn has led several artist-centric organizations, including Artist Trust in Seattle, WA. and the Film Arts Foundation in San Francisco, CA. She also volunteers her time with numerous arts organization as a media arts instructor and board member, including the WA. State Arts Alliance, Media Impact Funders and Sola Foundation, established by artist Ginny Ruffner. She currently is the Chief Philanthropy Office at Seattle Foundation, where she has been instrumental in launching the Creative Advantage and Creative Equity programs.


Shelly Leavens is the Executive Director of the Jefferson County Historical Society, holds Bachelor degrees in Anthropology and International Studies from Penn State University, a Masters in Museology from the University of Washington, and a certificate from Harvard's HBX CORe program. Shelly has worked in the non-profit sector for the last 15 years; in the arts as a curator and collections manager, 


Catherine Duggan received her PhD in biochemistry from University College Dublin, followed by research fellowships at the Institut Pasteur Lille, France, and at Cancer Research UK in London.She is currently a researcher in the Public Health Sciences Division at the Fred Hutch in Seattle. Her focus in on breast cancer control and prevention, with specific interests in energetics and cancer risk and prevention, cancer survivorship, health disparities, and building capacity in breast cancer health systems in low- and middle-income countries.

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