Incarceration Altars

Artist: Bernie Masterson
Community Partner: Mountjoy Prison Campus, The Irish Prison Service and the City of Dublin Education & Training Board (CDETB)
Dates of Exhibition: 12th – 19th October
Website/Social Media:  
Medium: Audio/visual installation
Commission Type: Open Call
Commissioner Name: Grangegorman Public Art Working Group, Grangegorman Development Agency
Per Cent for Art: Yes



‘Incarceration Altars’ investigates the relationship between person, place and object through a series of images and prisoners’ narratives to contextualise the different worlds of prison identity and private identity. Objects provide links to those identities and are also used to reflect on other themes such as ‘mourning and memory,’ ‘transition and passage,’ ‘meditation and new vision,’ and how they serve as a marker in a significant life situation such as incarceration. The objects become an instrument, a channel of emotional connectedness to a vast structure of recollection involving thought, feeling and memory.  (Turkle, 2011)


“…man’s sentimental attachment to objects is one of life’s greatest consolations.”

Orhan Pamuk, The Innocence of Objects. (2012)

Incarceration Altars has developed in four stages:

  • Beginning with gathering source material, in the form of prisoners’ narratives, images and text through a series of one on one encounters with the artist.
  • Selection and editing of material in collaboration with the project participants.
  • The production of a catalogue with introductory essay by Professor Aislinn O Donnell who is the coordinator of structured Ph.D and M. Litt programmes in the Department of Education in Maynooth University.
  • The conclusion of the work will consist of an installation situated in the foyer of Rathdown House on the TU Dublin Grangegorman Campus with a view to possibly touring the work.
The audio/visual exhibition will run from Thursday 12th October until Thursday 19th October. It is located in the Foyer of Rathdown House, TU Dublin Grangegorman, Grangegorman Lower, Dublin 7.



Read the press release for Incarceration Altars | view here

Incarceration Altars Project Catalogue | view here



  • Artist Bio

    Bernie Masterson comes from a painting background and has worked extensively with Educational Services to Prisons. Over the last few years her work has developed through a participatory art practice. It is interdisciplinary in nature, and sometimes collaborative.  Key components of her practice include research, photography, film, editing, and sound design.

    In this collaborative exploration with the men form the Mountjoy Prison Campus she investigates new perspectives and makes us question our assumptions, in relation to negative stereotypes. She seeks to find alternative points of view that raises questions and promotes critical dialogue, regarding the role of humanity, as individuals, and as communities. Her work evolves as a personal response to real-life stories and situations encountered.