Magdalene Series at Rua Red

The Magdalene Series; a programme of exhibitions, interventions, performances, and events curated by Rua Red Director/Curator Maolíosa Boyle.

The series features five of Ireland’s leading artists: Amanda Coogan, Alice Maher, Rachel Fallon, Jesse Jones, and Grace Dyas. Rua Red commissioned the five artists to research and produce new work in response to Mary Magdalene. The series launched in June 2021 with Amanda Coogan's 'They Come Then, The Birds'.

Mary Magdalene has been a subject of fascination and curiosity throughout history. She is a binary creation: conflicted and mysterious, noble and humble, strong yet morally weak, beautiful and haggard, passionate yet penitent, erotic and unreserved, reclusive and solitary. The Magdalene is the earthly, carnal, and sensual counterpart to the celestial Virgin. She embodies humanity and humility – she sweats, cries, and bleeds.

The Magdalene series explores Mary Magdalene’s associations with the incarceration and institutionalisation of women and other themes such as forced labour, morality, shame, reparation, and penitence. The series proposes a new world, uncurbed by religious, political, or societal doctrine, a world led by the experience of the Magdalene and viewed through the lens of contemporary feminism and feminist theology.

The Magdalene Series is the culmination of a three-year collaboration between the artists and curator. The process has included input from theologians, academics, and researchers. Writers such as Sinead Gleeson, Silvia Federici, Tara Londi, and Kate Antosik Parsons are working with the artists to create a series of essays and responses to the work. A publication, to be launched at the end of the series, will contain these texts.

As part of Rua Red’s active research programme, several academics and feminist theologians will deliver lectures on key themes in the artists’ work. These lectures will form part of the Magdalene Series educational resource archive which will be available for audiences on the Rua Red YouTube channel and on the website below.

"From a young age, I have been fascinated by the figure of Mary Magdalene, who she was and what she symbolised within historical works and texts and how she influenced church and state’s view of women in contemporary society." - Maolíosa Boyle, Curator of the Magdalene Series/Director Rua Red

The Magdalene Series is possible due to the financial support of the Arts Council, South Dublin County Council Arts Office, and Creative Ireland.


'They Come Then, The Birds' by Amanda Coogan

'The Map' by Alice Maher and Rachel Fallon

Active Research Programme

Rua Red is delighted to announce our new online Active Research Programme as part of the Magdalene Series. Over the course of 2021/2022, Rua Red will bring some of the foremost academics, activists, researchers, theologians, and feminists to speak about themes within the forthcoming exhibitions by Amanda Coogan, Alice Maher, Rachel Fallon, Jesse Jones, and Grace Dyas.

Lecture by feminist theologian and author of ‘Mary Magdalene Revealed’ Meggan Watterson

Lecture by Marina Warner - Mary Magdalene and Her Jar: Fragrant oils, Luxury and Sin

Lecture by Feminist Cartographer Meghan Kelly - Feminist Mapping: A Gallery of Possibilities