Orla Ryan is an artist, independent curator,writer and lecturer. She was born in Dublin and now lives in the South East of Ireland. She studied at St. Martins School of Art, London; NCAD, Dublin; The Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, New York; Dublin City University. Ryan currently lectures part-time at the Wexford Campus School of Art and Design IT Carlow. Her dissertation was assisted by a Government of Ireland Research Scholarship in the Humanities. She was also awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to attend The Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study program.
Her research interests include the complex temporalities of modernity; history and memory and the relationship to photography and film; comparative approaches to the study of film and moving image installations and locating history through auto-ethnographic practices. Current practice is engaged with the early 20th century and 19th century in Ireland. In researching historical discourses re-looking at Ireland and colonialism there is a continued interest to engage with this topic through a wider global frame. This is evident in the group exhibition curated at the Void Derry Spring Watching Pavilion, 2015, which explored the Vietnamese war, globalization and an earlier refugee crisis which allowed a path of connection to open up between the specifics of that history and the current geo-political situation. Ryan has curated a number of artists exhibitions at the Void including Dinh Q. Lê’s The Colony, 2016, Candice Breitz’s Him+ Her, 2013 (both co-curated with Maolíosa Boyle); Ursula Biemann; Trinh T. Minh-ha; Mairead McClean; Denis McNulty. She has worked collaboratively with Maeve Connolly and Valerie Connor on a curatorial project TV –Project (2000-2002) which included the publication of The Glass Eye (2000).
Working collaboratively with Alanna O’Kelly and Brian Hand as Stormy Petrel/Guairdeall Ryan was awarded a commission from An Post, GPO Public Art Commissions. This project was exhibited as part of the launch of the Witness History Museum and 1916 Centenary at the GPO in April 2016. This work was exhibited in The Vietnamese Women’s Museum, Hanoi, Vietnam, May/June 2016, supported by The Irish Embassy in Hanoi and Culture Ireland. Stormy Petrel/ Guairdeall exhibited their work in Visual, Carlow October- Jan 2017 . This exhibition included a film Have you Forgotten Mr Haynes (2017) funded by Art Links. Her work has also been exhibited in Close Up Cinema, London, Gallerie 50/20, Salzburg; Transmission Gallery, Glasgow; CCA, Glasgow; The Context (now CCA, Derry); The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin; Rear Window, London; Rua Red, Dublin; Downtown Art Festival, New York. Art projects have also appeared in Inter Asia Cultural Studies (vol 14 2013), Je Veux (2003),Charley 1 (2002). Ryan did a residency at the Heinrich Boll Cottage, Achill in 2007.