The Hold’ documents the lives of 24 Bere Island women throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and the hold Bere Island had on them.

The women formed a collective, Bere Island Women Create, and during lockdown worked remotely with award winning island artist Mary Sullivan to use art as a way to express their lives as island women.

The initial exposition in the summer of 2022 resulted in the book with the same name, with all pictures and the story of the project. It is available on Bere Island at many sites (Rerrin shop, Heritage Center, Marina).

‘The Hold’ was funded by The Arts Council, Creative Ireland, The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and Cork County Council.

Mary Sullivan, a visual and performance artist living on Bere Island, works with a variety of mediums including film, installation, performance and sculpture. Mary’s work sheds light on the complex history of women’s labour in Ireland, domestic life and island living.
A graduate of the BA (Hons) Visual Arts degree programme, Technological University Dublin via Sherkin Island, Mary received the RDS Taylor Art Award for her work ‘At Home, At War’ in 2018.

More recently, the artist has exhibited in institutions across Ireland and the UK including the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, the Royal Hibernian Academy, the Leydon Gallery London and Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre. In 2019, she hosted her first solo exhibition, ‘Breathe’, housed in the underground rooms of a disused military shelter on Bere Island. Mary is currently working towards a solo exhibition in Uillinn, West Cork Arts Centre in 2023).