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CUSTOMS HOUSE is an area of artistic research into the complexities of borders. Viewing from the map, the Irish border near to where Manorhamilton is situated is more or less invisible, interweaving unconventionally through farmland and homes causing numerous unofficial crossing points that are difficult to concretise. During the course of the residency, artist Sophie Foster visited sections of the north side of the Irish border between Belcoo and Belleek, collecting physical associations of its landscape such as water, stones, sticks and vegetation. These items have been precisely catagorised through the GPS code of where they were found and organised within the exhibition space as a pop up exchange centre. They will be available to be traded with other natural items brought in by the audience members from the Irish Republic side of the border. By asking people to choose and reposition objects from bordering locations, the natural and artificial functions of the border have been reinforced, drawing attention to the socio-geographical contradictions of the current European political debate - the dividing line reflects on both sides an area of displacement and turbulent history as well as what is now an open border and freedom to cross.

Exhibition curated by Séan O'Reilly.

Sofie Foster

After completing a Combined Honours degree at Newcastle University UK, Sophie Foster remained in the city working as a contemporary artist and arts educator within the lifelong learning sector. She accomplished her first solo exhibition Transitions: At a Snail’s Pace (2012) with the National Glass Centre in Sunderland and later awarded a residency at Northumbria University, working in their paper studio. She is now based in Weimar, DE after recently completing an MFA in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar under Prof. Danica Dakić. From there, her work has made a shift into photographic reconstruction, site-specific performance and temporary interventions about narrative, identity, memory and place.