Jul 2021

I Am What I Am – closing ceremony  exhibition finished

I Am What I Am – closing ceremony, July 31st 2 - 5pm

Official closing ceremony from 2 – 5pm

Admission: Free. Booking essential. 

I Am What I Am is an inclusive celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and the arts. The title hails from the song finale in the 1983 broadway musical La Cage aux Folles written and composed by queer writer Jerry Herman. The song was covered by Gloria Gaynor that same year and has been an empowerment anthem for the LGBTQ+ community ever since. Community is at the nexus of the programme as a point of arrival into the process of bringing together this exhibition. 

I Am What I Am has brought together five community groups, two government institutions, twenty eight artists and creators, five educational speakers, one educational film, a panel discussion and four community tours and events to celebrate LGBTQ+ lives in Ireland with thanks to Mayo County Council Arts Service and Ballina Arts Centre. The ceremony will include a fantastic theatrical site responsive performance from Esther Raquel Minsky, readings from poet's John O'Brien and William Keohane and a flower laying ceremony in honour of the AIDS Memorial Quilt on display in the exhibition.


Performance of The Crossing by Esther Raquel Minsky, 2.30 - 3pm

Curator introduction by Sinéad Keogh and thanks, 3 – 3.10pm

Poetry reading of Precious Rainbow by John O' Brien, 3.10 - 3.15pm

Reading of Salthill by William Keohane, 3.15 – 3.25pm

Artists’ bios:

Esther Raquel Minsky

A special commissioThe Crossing by Esther Raquel Minsky / Oscar Esterson and Denis Kehoe - writer and performer. Esther has prepared a site specific performance commissioned work in response to Ballina Arts Centre's location beside a canal and rushing water.

Water; always present in the life of Oscar, of Esther. Lakes, rivers, seas and oceans. Always crossing, always searching, forever trying to put it all together; like stitches in fabric, like time, like the stories we tell ourselves of who we might have been, of who we might still become.

John O'Brien

special commissionof - Precious Rainbow, a poem written for this exhibition by poet and ally John O' Brien has been prepared for this exhibition.

I always like and got on well with people as my job entailed understanding others with no judgement towards them.  A mantra that I still live by today.  A very good friend of mine died in his early twenties as he didn’t know how to ask for help and those he left behind are the ones who now have to suffer.

John is a writer and poet based in Wicklow and a member of The Greystones Scribblers and The Hardliners Writing Collective.

William Keohane

William Keohane is a writer from Limerick, currently completing an MA in Creative Writing. As a transgender man, William's writing reflects on the concrete and abstract facets of gender transition, told through the metaphor of water. His collection Saltwateis based around seaside locations in Ireland.

I Am What I Am is a stronghold in the form of resistance against adversity in an ever evolving and dissolving world. The exhibition runs from 5th June - 29th July.

This is an initiative of Mayo County Council Arts Service in partnership with the Arts Council of Ireland with support from the Creative Ireland Programme.