Kate Nolan

The small village of Pettigo straddles the border between Donegal and Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and the Republic. The border is marked by the River Termon flowing through the centre of town. Two bridges allow you to cross from North to South and at some points you can just step across and not even realise you have entered another country. Nolan’s expectations of what a border town would be, with heightened tension and strong divides, were invisible to her.

As I looked at the land and its people, I couldn’t tell where the real divisions lay. Following the river, I questioned the artificial construct of a border imposed upon nature. What is this physical space? A lacuna, a cavity in understanding. A landless land.

Being Irish but having grown up outside of Ireland, Nolan found a gap in her understanding of the relationship between the North and South. With LACUNA, she is investigating the realities of these divisions today on a minute level. Through the recorded stories of individuals from both sides of the border, the use of still and moving images, and an original score, Nolan endeavours to illustrate what is not easily visible


Kate Nolan is an Irish visual artist specialising in extended photographic stories that examine the nature of identity within “in-between” spaces. Intrigued by the effects of shifting histories and unknown narratives within these spaces, she collaborates with communities to uncover and voice their personal circumstances. Through combining her images with the individual’s narratives, Nolan builds stories that highlight latent contradictions and the tenuous relationships between political borders and cultural identity.
Nolan’s work has been featured in a wide range of photography publications and exhibited in solo and group shows in Ireland and internationally. In September 2014 she published an artist’s book of her long-term work, Neither, which explores the dreams and fears of women in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Neither won the Magnum Award 2015, the Alliance Francaise Award 2013 and was nominated for Best Photobook at Foto Book Kassel 2015.Neither has been exhibited in 2015 at Belfast Photo Festival, Benaki Museum, Photo London and Kassel. Nolan’s work is held in public and private collections in Japan, USA, France, Portugal, Mexico, UK and Ireland.