Class of 2021 • Print

Clodagh Laffan

Limerick School of Art and Design


Graduation Year
Class of 2021


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.
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