The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy

May 12 — Jun 17, 2017



The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy (2014) is a film by Duncan Campbell that takes as a starting point three anthropological studies of mental illness made in Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the documentary The Village, made by UCLA’s anthropological unit in 1968. Campbell’s film focuses on the character of a ten-year-old boy, seen in the light of the tension between the activism and subjectivity of the American anthropologists and the pragmatic, deferential, and conservatively Catholic perspective of the people they are studying. Shot on 16mm black-and-white film, The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy combines materials from the IFI Irish Film Archive with self-shot footage to investigate the reality of constant emigration and the precarious existence of rural Gaelic communities. The thirty-minute film played in the gallery throughout the exhibition, and was accompanied by a screening of Campbell’s 2013 film It For Others with a dialogue with Jordan Wilson.

The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy was co-commissioned by the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; the Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven; and Western Front. Presented with the support of the Irish Film Group of Unions and Culture Ireland.

Curated by Pablo de Ocampo.


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Western Front is a non-profit
artist-run centre in Vancouver.

We acknowledge the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations as traditional owners of the land upon which Western Front stands.