The Linen Memorial
is an intimate memorial which captures the totality of the live, without judgement, as well as the isolated experience of each life that every name represents.. It was created by artist Lycia Trouton, 2001, who was born in Belfast, but grew up in Canada and has lived her adult life in the U.S.A and Australia. It is a migrant artwork which documents the politics of emotion and trauma resulting from Northern Ireland’s Troubles, while, at the same time, it contains within it a story about the artist’s own emotional agency and Diasporic sense of belonging. Since showing The Memorial in Northern Ireland, 2007, and listing it in virtual space (www.linenmemorial.org) with an eMemorial guestbook that anyone can sign (2005), The Memorial has begun to document the emotional interactions of cross-community members in Northern Ireland and transnational family life in The Irish Diaspora. The latter includes the emotional dynamics of ‘belonging’ in the context of globalising forces. With a decade of her life dedicated to this monumental undertaking, the artist, born in 1967, is helping re-imagine new forms of community, shaped by the grief and trauma of the last 37 years. As such, she considers herself one of the ‘Lost Generation’ of the period of The Troubles which has just ended. She hopes for a ‘parity of esteem for difference’ in Northern Ireland’s fragile, post-conflict ‘shared’future.
The dead, far from being gone, remain a powerful part of the community of the living (
subject-object ambiguity). The Linen Memorial records all those horrifically killed in the sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland; the persons listed are on either side of the political divide without bias, 1966 - 2007. It is a counter-monument: the names are printed and embroidered on 377 Irish linen handkerchiefs. There is a long history of textile production in Ireland, particularly in Northern Ireland: flax farming, linen production and export. Time-consuming hand-sewing and mending are known to be slow processes which waylay anxiety and need to be done with love, because they are very laborious. Handkerchiefs were often worn in the breast pocket, on the heart, and exchanged as goodbyes gifts, to wipe away tears.
The memorial has become an alternative cultural history of The Troubles
Northern Ireland, through visual documentation and the resulting dialogue and oral storytelling of victims/survivors.
It is designed by sculptor, Dr. Lycia Trouton, DCA. See
June 21st, 2007, the longest day of the year, was the first
Day of Private Reflection on the conflict in and about Northern Ireland. In 2007 and 2008, The Linen Memorial was available for viewing at Corrymeela Community, Ballycastle, N. Ireland. The linen squares were hung in the stone building known as The Croi, designed in 1978 by Norman Hawthorn and inspired by the shape of a heart; it is nestled into the cliff and made of stone, like Ireland’s passage tombs. Through the architectonic configuration, sculptor Trouton encourages the visitor descend into the space, view the linens only under the light of the sky and ascend again to return to the land of the living – the Peace and Reconciliation Centre that is Corrymeela.