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After School

Teen Summer Workshop Series
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The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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Rita Duffy

The Souvenir Shop


This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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In 2016, Rita Duffy created a Souvenir Shop in Dublin as part of various events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising against British rule in Ireland.

For that project, Duffy expanded her artistic practice and used her skills to create a variety of "bogusly" titled and labeled products that referenced aspects of political life in Ireland both in 1916 and in the present day. With witty verbal and visual punning, she challenged taboos and tackled contentious topics such as patriotism and the role of women in Irish society. The shop was a combination of original artworks and multiple products for sale to the public. "Irreverent thought-provoking commodities - tins and jars are released from the larder to question our cultural divisions." -Helen Carey

For the Mattress Factory exhibition, Duffy has devised a new iteration of The Souvenir Shop directed at an American audience. She has turned her attention from the heroes and martyrs of Ireland to heroes and martyrs of African American history and their struggle for freedom, and she makes comment on various iniquities currently being visited on American society, by the current administration.

Duffy uses satire to question political opinions and certainties. She is also driven by a desire to produce artwork, that is accessible and which connects to people's everyday lives. The Souvenir Shop at 1414 Monterey Street invites exchange and dialogue about the role of art in relation to political issues of the day.

Curated by John Carson


so it is: April 7 - August 6, 2017
About The Artist

Rita Duffy is a prolific and multi-faceted artist, whose work has uncompromisingly tackled themes and images of Irish identity, history and politics. Her work has utilized her impressive range of abilities in painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, and public art. With a robust humor and disrespectful fluency in her use of symbols of Irish culture and politics, Duffy's work has also strongly championed the place of women in Irish society and examined their role in Irish history.

More from this Artist

More from this Exhibition

Untitled (tyre fire)

Further Progress (Champagne and Argonne)

They Dropped Like Flakes, They Dropped Like Stars

Embroidery Frieze (The Politicians)

The Precariat

No Return



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