> Beyond the ninth wave

Yvette Monahan / Beyond the ninth wave


Artist’s Statement:

The title refers to the islands of peace and eternal life that lie beyond the ninth wave in Irish mythology. These Arcadian islands are thought to lie in the North Atlantic. These images are rooted in a real place but hope to bring the viewer closer to the island beyond the ninth wave.

In the 1980’s, a group called the Atlantis Community moved from London to Inishfree, a remote island, off the coast of Donegal in Ireland, to practice primal scream therapy. The main motivation of this therapy was to release deep rooted imprinted pain. The predominantly female community was labeled ‘The Screamers’ by the Irish media.

The images from this series emerge from viewing this Donegal landscape as a metaphorical biography of the Screamers’ psyche, one where trauma has played a significant role. Beyond the ninth wave explores this wounded island landscape.

This thought process led to a period of experimentation as I tried to find a way to express the physicality of this traumatised landscape.

On the island, I collected turf for the fire in a wheelbarrow daily. This Irish fuel source also known as peat is created from dead and decaying vegetation accumulated and compressed over millennia. One of the properties of turf is that it preserves all that is held within its environment, there is an inherent memory that is trapped within.

I started exposing the turf onto darkroom paper during the daylight hours and then fixing them late at night to create Lumen prints.

When presented as triptychs, the patterns started to resemble sound waves.



Yvette Monahan is an Irish photographic artist. She creates visual narratives, which reveal stories hidden deep in living places.

In 2017, Yvette was invited to create and exhibit ‘Beyond the ninth wave’ for TULCA Ireland by curator Matt Packer, alongside other artists including Yoko Ono and Bob Quinn.

In 2015, her project ‘The thousand year old boy’ won the Solas Ireland Award. It was also exhibited in Dublin and Salzburg and as part of BX Futures, PhotoLondon, London Art Fair, and New Irish Works. It was nominated for the Savills prize and the Prix Pictet award 2016.

In 2013, Yvette won both the portfolio award at PhotoIreland and Slideluck Potshow for her body of work ‘The time of dreaming the world awake’.  Consequently, she had a solo show as part of PhotoIreland 2014 and self-published a monograph.

Yvette holds an MFA Photography from the University of Ulster and an MA Geography from Trinity College Dublin.