© By Marie Barrett

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Marie Barrett’s Collars was a site-specific installation based on the experience of women working in the linen/garment industry in the North West. It was a cross border and cross community project. Barrett worked collaboratively with two groups of women from local shirt factories in the development of the project.

The work took the form of fourteen enamel bowls, filled with water with a shirt collar submerged in each. Trade names of collars traditionally used in the production of shirts were printed across the base of the bowls.

Collars was exhibited in Donegal, Dublin, Belfast and New York. In New York, the work was further developed through an exhibition and programme of related events entitled ‘The Global Sweatshop’, Art in General, New York (1995). ‘The Global Sweatshop’ programme was carried out in conjunction with the garment workers union, local factory workers and community groups and investigated, from a global perspective, the subject of women as a source of labour within the garment industry.

The project idea was further developed in a renewed form through the Remnant project in 2008. Remnant was an innovative cross-border public art project that visualised and articulated elements of the working lives of women and men who were central to the garment industry in the region. Remnantculminated in an audio-visual installation and large-scale projection event.

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Temporary site specific