PORT TOWNSEND — Artist Paula Stokes will present a free public presentation on her art installation about the 19th century Irish Potato Famine at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
The lecture about “1845: Memento Mori” will be at the Museum of Art & History at 540 Water St.
Showing for the first time at the museum, the work by the Seattle artist is installed in the Women’s Jail at the 1892 Historic City Hall museum and consists of 1,845 hand-blown glass potatoes piled into the form of a cairn.
The exhibit will be on display through Aug. 26.
Stokes co-founded METHOD gallery in Seattle in 2013, and simultaneously began her work as manager of glass artist Dale Chihuly’s hot shop and special projects.
Her educational background has been specific to studio glass and printmaking. She has studied at the University of Washington, National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland and at the International Glass Centre in Brierley Hill, England.
“I was born and grew up in Ireland but moved to Seattle in 1993,” Stokes said.
“As a modern-day member of the Irish Diaspora, I have now crossed the line where I have lived in America longer than I have lived in Ireland. Despite my full integration into a new world, I have never managed to shake the intense longing of living so far away from ‘home.’
“In creating this work, I honor my Irish heritage and culture, and all immigrants who have come before me,” she continued.
“I also want to throw light on historical events that have shaped the present and open a dialogue on how we can learn from the past. I hope to create a bridge between the old and new, the past and the present.
“And in doing so I hope to elicit compassionate reflection that transcends the polarizing politics of our current time.”