Mary Kelly


Born in Dublin, Mary Kelly is a contemporary Irish artist and filmmaker. She graduated from the National College of Art and Design with an MA in Fine Art followed by a Degree in Film from the Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design. She also holds a BA in Philosophy and Psychology from UCD.

She is intrigued by the notion of home and place and how we humans instinctively strive to recreate a personal space in even the most extreme environments. One such example of this concern can be seen captured in her series Asylum from 2005. This collection of photographic and video installations was inspired by a specific institution within Ireland’s mental healthcare system. Kelly observed as, ward by ward, the patients were evacuated, leaving only the husk of the building. What remained inside were only bits of furniture and the personal and poignant marks, scratches and scribbles left by the patients themselves. They were the voices, the means of expression used by those kept within the system. An attempt to let the world know they were there. Kelly aimed to honour these remarkable survival stories through her images.

Kelly has won many awards, including the Artlinks award in 2007 and the Irish American Arts award in 2006. Her films have been screened at the NYU Tish School of Arts, Cantor Film Centre New York and the BBC Short Film Festival, London. She is represented in such collections as Microsoft and Goldman Sachs.

Kelly still lives and works in Dublin.