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Statement by President Michael D. Higgins on the death of Imogen Stuart

Date: Mon 25th Mar, 2024 | 15:24

“Imogen Stuart made a singular contribution to the enrichment of the lives of so many throughout Irish society, not only through her inspiring and challenging work, but by her committed vision of art as an essential public good, something that must for that very reason be accessible and available to the public.

Imogen’s practical commitment to the importance of the cultural space was a broad, inclusive and magnanimous one. For her, the shared places that make up the daily lives of our citizens were its central location.

Thus, presentation of her distinctive artwork was never confined to galleries and other separated spaces, but it can be found in churches, schools, hospitals and shopping centres to be enjoyed by all. As a nation, we are all deeply indebted to Imogen for this great spirit of generosity and for the rich wealth of public art which she has left us and which, not only for our generation has so enhanced our society and our shared environment, but will give joy to future generations. 

Sabina and I were fortunate to call Imogen a friend for many years. Throughout the time we shared, we became fervent admirers, not only of her work, but of this generosity of spirt to which I refer that has ensured that her beautiful sculptures have become firmly rooted in the public space to be shared by all. 

It was a particular privilege, as President of Ireland, to confer on Imogen the Torc that signified her election as a Saoi of Aosdána, the highest tribute by her fellow artists, in September 2015. It was a further privilege to receive her major work Pangur Bán to its new location at Áras an Uachtaráin in January 2020, where it remains a greatly enhancing feature of the Áras enjoyed daily by the many members of the public who visit each year.

Not only on behalf of Sabina and myself, but on behalf of all who will continue to encounter her work, may I express my deepest condolences to Imogen’s daughters Aisling and Aoibheann, and to all of her family and many friends."