Famine Houses


West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen, Cork, Ireland, November 2016

Pumpkin, Turnip, Toothpicks, Dead flies, Pictures and Stools

Since I started my residency in the West Cork Arts Centre, I have kept finding dead flies on the floor throughout the whole building. Though some flies are alive when I find them, they always die a few days later. I tried to imagine their situation and how they feel. And what I thought was that they are trapped in the huge inorganic maze with no way out. They have been wandering around the arts centre with no food source and dying of starvation. In my head, their situation overlapped with the local historical issue of the Great Famine. Before their dying, many of the flies arrive at the landing at the top of the staircase on the 5th floor, just beside the administration office. As my residency has taken place during Halloween, I sculpted two houses using a pumpkin and a turnip like Irish people use to make lanterns. And then, I installed the houses for both alive and dead flies on the staircase. For alive flies, the houses function as the last stand because the flies can eat the houses for survival. Over the course of my residency, the pumpkin house is melting and collapsing with mold, and the turnip house is drying and shriveling, and both of them have kept changing their form beautifully day by day. And the houses have transformed like the ruins of Famine houses that I have seen in Skibberren.


Contact detail :


Flax Art Studios
Havelock House, Ormeau Road
Belfast, BT7 1EB, Northern Ireland, UK


© 2020 Shiro MASUYAMA

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Artist 北アイルランド