Class of 2023 • Installation

Anna Beth Walsh

Anna Beth Walsh
National College of Art and Design (NCAD)


Graduation Year
Class of 2023


‘It Was Nice Being You’ is an immersive, interactive and multimedia installation that explores the grief of being a young girl who grew up neurodivergent and mentally ill and didn't receive diagnosis or treatment until far too late in life. It is a lamentation for the young girl I was before the world forced me to mask in order to assimilate. Situated in a photography darkroom, I invite the viewer to step inside my workspace, my memories and my psyche. By using elements of theatrical set design and prop making, I am exploring the complex themes of false reality, both the performance of autistic masking and the distorted romanticization of memory. And through double exposure darkroom prints, digitally collaged 35mm slides, home video montage and audio narration I am blending past and present, in an attempt to reconnect with my inner child and the authenticity and peace I once experienced.My practice centers on sociology, psychology, and the human condition. Although an activist artist, I grapple with the ethical question of telling others' stories, which has led me to focus primarily on my own experiences as a queer woman with Autism, ADHD, and Bipolar Disorder Type I. My practice is shaped by my experiences with mental illness and neurodivergence, including trauma within the medical system, late diagnoses due to gender bias and institutional ableism. My work is expressive and brutally honest, delicately addressing mental illness without triggering others. It aims to spark conversations about the unromanticized aspects of mental illness, shedding light on its nuanced complexity which is often misrepresented in the media. I strive to educate those who lack understanding and provide solace to those who can relate.My practice is research led and extremely multimedia, with aspects of digital photography, filmmaking, collage, sound, sculpture, printmaking, and moving image. I also use analog processes like shooting, developing, and printing using 35mm and 16mm film. Original poetry and written word is a vital element of my practice, as is live and pre-recorded performance. I’ve also recently begun incorporating theatrical set design and prop making.I combine these diverse mediums, to create immersive installations that offer interactive experiences, engage multiple senses and create an all encompassing experience. My motivation is to make modern art accessible to all, moving away from extreme conceptualism and vagueness that alienate many individuals, particularly outside the art world. I am inspired by the whimsical playfulness of artists like Meow Wolf and Aki Sasamoto. While exploring complex themes, I strive to make my work multifaceted, fostering connections with everyone, even at a surface level. For those who delve deeper, my installations reveal layers of metaphors and meanings, encouraging further exploration and contemplation.
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