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16.49 12 Apr 2018


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An art student is paying tribute to the case of the Tuam babies, with a collection of tiny porcelain hearts.

Bonnie Kavanagh, an accredited therapist, is currently studying for a BA in Fine Art at the National College of Art and Design.

Her practice is heavily influenced by her therapeutic work with children.

She has used ceramics and mixed media to look into issues of attachment.

Her porcelain hearts are going on display at Dublin's Gallery Zozimus.

Fine Arts student Bonnie Kavanagh holds her collection of tiny porcelain hearts, which are a tribute to the babies of Tuam | Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

"The amount of grief and ritual and mourning that would normally be around a loss like that or around grief like that was missing in this - so this is really about grief and mourning," she told the Irish Examiner.

"Because in those times people weren't allowed to mourn, you just had to get on with it - no mourning, no recognition - so it's just a recognition or to acknowledge, I suppose.

"It's my reaction to it."

Fine Arts student Bonnie Kavanagh holds her collection of tiny porcelain hearts, which are a tribute to the babies of Tuam | Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

A Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation (MBHCOI) identified human remains in 17 out of 20 chambers discovered in an elongated structure within the boundaries of the former site of the Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co Galway.

This report identified the number of deaths from the General Registers Office of 796 children during the years 1925-1961.

But a report found individual identification of remains is unlikely without "significant investigation."

The woman who uncovered the Tuam Mother and Baby scandal, Catherine Corless, received the Bar of Ireland's Human Rights Award back in 2017.


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