New Generation Gallery

Clodagh Laffan

Print Contemporary Practice, Limerick School of Art and Design

New Generation Gallery

I centred this series of work around the symbol of the ‘Enclosed Garden/Hortus Conclusus’, a popular subject in art history that has always been associated with the Virgin Mary and her purity. In many Renaissance paintings and medieval illuminations, the ‘enclosed garden’ symbolised a space where women, particularly women’s sexuality is controlled and contained. Drawing imagery from fairy tales, medieval folklore and the Victorian decorative arts, I made my own series of enclosed gardens that explore ideas of femininity, nature and control. Through the process of making these works, I started to feel that they also came to represent my experience of living in lockdown these last few months. The cage, the shells and the bell jars all began to symbolise the way we are all living now in our isolated bubbles. The enclosed garden, despite being a protective, safe space feels suffocating and claustrophobic.

More info about Clodagh Laffan at

Caged In
Safe Place
No Room to Grow
Room to Grow
She's Shy
Finding my Feet