The mural is at Nano Nagle Place.

Migrant mothers mural unveiled

A very special public art mural was officially unveiled by Cork’s Lord Mayor Cllr Deirdre Forde recently at Nano Nagle Place in the presence of many of those involved in the Sanctuary Mask initiative.

Created and installed by visual artist Holly Pereira on the plaza at Nano Nagle Place, Saoirse is the name of the mural. The mural celebrates Saoirse Ethnic Hands-on Deck in the Cork Migrant Centre, which is part of Nano Nagle Place. Saoirse - Ethnic Hands on Deck is a cooperative formed by mothers - migrant women living in direct provision centres and other local migrants around Cork.

The Mother Tongue Project is a celebration of migrant women, with the aim of promoting inter-cultural understanding, social inclusion, and sustainable livelihoods through creativity, collaboration, textiles, and conversations.

The project uses multilingualism as a force for cultural diversity and creativity, acknowledging the vital role of the mother in the community. Mother Tongue is a combination of sayings and wisdom that mothers have shared for generations with their children. It celebrates cultural particularities, while always maintaining our belief that mothers, and women, have a connection which unites them across all boundaries, both physical and imagined.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, Cork Migrant Centre launched the Sanctuary Mask Initiative, a coordinated response to address self-identified needs by women living in Direct Provision centres. Under this initiative, 22 seamstresses, in 6 direct provision centres, produced 9,000 high quality face masks for all Direct Provision residents in Cork and other vulnerable groups in the community.

Saoirse expands on the hugely successful Sanctuary Mask Initiative and invests in the potential of migrant women by channelling their creativity and drive to build a sustainable and viable economic enterprise.

Representing over 22 counties, the diversity of the group is reflected in the product design, patterns, and prints. Partnerships and networking embed the project within the community, with the major output as national expansion and international reach through physical and online sales. Saoirse is run entirely by migrant women, with the help from an experienced board and the continued assistance from Nano Nagle Place.