someone decides, hawk or dove

art exhibition piece
Two animal statues stand facing away from each other

Multimedia Exhibition from Solas Nua, DC’s premier Irish arts organization, and Inaugural Norman Houston Multidisciplinary Award Recipient, Niamh McCann


someone decides, hawk or dove

Niamh McCann's multimedia work examines the Irish 'Troubles.' The exhibition opened on September 7th 2023 at STABLE Arts in Washington D.C.

Opening Reception with multimedia artist Niamh McCann took place on Saturday, September 9th, 4-6pm


Washington, DC (Aug. 1, 2023) - Solas Nua, Washington DC’s premier contemporary Irish arts organization, in collaboration with DC artist studio and gallery, STABLE Arts,  announced someone decides, hawk or dove, a new body of work by Dublin-based mixed-media artist Niamh McCann as the inaugural recipient of Solas Nua’s Norman Houston Multidisciplinary Commissioning Award. 

Someone decides, hawk or dove, seeks to subvert the  assumed perspectives of social, political, and geographical landscapes. The work responds to the 1922 institutionalization of the Northern and Southern borders of Ireland and the ongoing consequences and reverberations of this partition. It combines sculpture, collage,  and video, to  examine the struggle between Northern and Southern Ireland during ‘The Troubles’.

“Making is a form of challenging narrative,” states McCann, “it's a way of revisiting what might be missing from the archival record, of instinctively involving yourself with subject, materials and scale to a degree that risks and reinstates a reality more truthful to the fragmented, messy and disjointed nature of life, than ‘fact.’”

McCann mines deep seams of colonialist atrocities and historic legacies to speculate on what language, story and imagery might be missing from accepted colonial narrative(s) or obstructed by its in-built global systems of naming, ownership, political power-play and cultural displacement. Concerned with acts of remembrance and reflection, this work draws from territory borders, architecture, street names, flags and ceremonies to convolute history and to allow for elucidated slippages and the emergence of complex, non-linear narratives. 

Work from someone decides, hawk or dove - or iterations of same - has been shown at the Rudolf-Scharpf-Galerie, Ludwigshafen, Germany (hosted by Wilhelm-Hack-Museum), at Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris and at The Boyne Valley Visitor Centre, Ireland. 



September 7-30, 2023 | Thursday-Sunday 12 pm - 6 pm

STABLE Arts | 336 Randolph Place NE Washington, DC 20002



A recipient of the 2022 Norman Houston Award from Solas Nua, McCann lives and works in Dublin. She is a recipient of the 2021 Stephen McKenna Fellowship from the Royal Hibernian Academy and is represented by Green On Red Gallery, Dublin. McCann’s work is housed in the collections of The Irish Museum of Modern Art; The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon; Limerick City Gallery, Swansea City Council; The London Institute; Hiscox, London and Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane.  

Her work is supported by Solstice Arts Centre, Meath, Creative Ireland, Culture Ireland, the National College of Art and Design (Ireland) and the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon. 



The Norman Houston Project was initiated in 2022 by Solas Nua in Washington D.C., dedicated to the memory of Norman Houston, the former Director of the Northern Ireland Bureau (NIB), in the United States. It includes the Capital Irish Film Festival’s Award for the best short film from Northern Ireland, and the Norman Houston Multidisciplinary Commissioning Award. This exciting opportunity was open to artists working in any discipline on the island of Ireland. Individuals or small collectives are both eligible. McCann engaged in a six-week research and development residency at STABLE Arts in 2022 and is now presenting someone decides, hawk or dove as the culmination of her two year commission. 



Solas Nua - ‘new light’ in Irish, acts as an ambassador and advocate for Irish arts in the U.S., promoting contemporary, multidisciplinary Irish arts and culture. By offering new opportunities for artists based in both Ireland and the U.S., Solas Nua provides access and inclusion for artists and audiences to connect and participate on both sides of the Atlantic. They present, produce, and commission thought-provoking and ground-breaking work across the arts, and are recognized for making a substantive, unique contribution to the artistic and cultural richness of the city of Washington, D.C. and beyond. Solas Nua presents work that is cross-cultural, representing today’s Ireland - a globally diverse society. Their programming reflects a conviction that Irish arts travel across borders, cultures, and socio-economic lines. Solas Nua is the recipient of the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts, has received multiple Helen Hayes Awards and nominations, and has garnered international acclaim with features in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Irish Times, RTE National Broadcast, on the cover of American Theatre Magazine.



STABLE is a space for artists to think and create, fostering an arts ecosystem in D.C. through our studios, residencies, projects and collaborations.