From the introduction to the inaugural exhibition at Sorbonne 1 - Panthéon in March 2016
It is pleasing to note that it was in Ireland that Mia Funk began her painting career and formed herself as an artist; the humour, light and dark, of her paintings, her subversive use of the conventions and her technical versatility are features familiar to Irish culture and common to many of the greatest Irish writers. If water themes, so recurrent to her work, are another influence of this moist island, it is because they involve ambiguity, reflection and the visualisation of things that cannot be grasped.
The Dublin Writers Museum is the first literary museum of its kind and was an inspiration for the American Writers Museum. What has emerged from our experience is that people are drawn to writers as much as to books, and that an understanding of individual authors not only illuminates their works or their national culture but leads to an understanding of the creative process itself. This is why Mia Funk’s The Creative Process is so important and exciting. Her idea is that literature and art are vehicles for bringing people together, and the project is designed as an exhibition for public spaces such as museums, galleries and libraries, where it can be shared by all sections of the community, including universities and cultural centres across America and Europe, where it will be of tremendous benefit. As Ms Funk says, ‘As an artist, I find that writers open up to me in a way they might not to critics. I’m not a journalist. I’m an artist who also writes.’ The interviews she has done are revealing not only of individual writers but of the shared experience of the creative process, and the portraits which accompany them are themselves like interviews in paint.
curator of the DUBLIN WRITERS MUSEUM and the JAMES JOYCE MUSEUM
Writers have always had a profound impact on our thinking. They influence our history, our culture and our daily lives. They reveal to us who we are. They educate and entertain us. Their works are the keystone of our cultural heritage. Therefore, it is vitally important for young people to understand the role writers play in society. It is particularly so at a time when reading and writing are being so impacted by technology. I would love to see a day when people have the same reverence for great writers as they do for sports heroes and film stars.
That’s why Mia Funk’s The Creative Process exhibition is an exciting project and very much in the spirit of what we are doing here at the American Writers Museum, opening in Chicago in March 2017.
Dr. Malcolm E. O’Hagan
President of the American Writers Museum