Fion Gunn


About FION GUNN:                                                                                                                    

In celebration of the birth of Mary Wollstonecraft, 27th April 1759

“My dreams are mine alone”, “We Breathe” and “Get Wisdom” by Fion Gunn. In celebration of Mary Wollstonecraft’s birthday on the 27th April 1759 the Museum of Childhood Ireland showcases digital art work by our fantastic Artist-In-Residence Fion Gunn ( )

Mary Wollstonecraft spent a formative year in Ireland in 1786, when she came to work as governess to the  daughters of the Kingsborough family at 15  Henrietta St. Dublin. 

In 1792, her political ideas crystallised in the pioneering feminist book A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

“That we are formed of the same earth, and breath the same element.” Mary Wollstonecraft.

#ChildRights #Education #EducateGirls

Plant More Trees! #TreeWeek

Plant More Trees!

I made this artwork in Virtual Reality – in my headset, and I realise that anyone watching me would think this looks quite strange!

2020 Plant More Trees!

I’ve used a ‘paper tool’ from the Tiltbrush menu so that the landscape looks like paper. I often work with paper when I paint or make sculptures too, I like the way that papers can be very different, smooth or rough, shiny or absorbent, this changes how the painting or drawing or writing looks.

From trees, we make paper and from paper we make books and art and when we create art or literature, we are making endless new worlds for all those who can read, write and look at them. 

I wanted to call the work ‘Plant More Trees!’ # 2 (I have another artwork with the same title) because I remember seeing a big sign on a deserted hillside in China. I was travelling in a boat up the Yanqtze river during my first visit to China in 2003 at the time and I liked the simplicity of the idea.

We should plant more trees, not just for our environment but so we can make more books. In these books we can learn about the world we live in as well as the inner worlds within ourselves.

In the film I have quoted the poetry of Li Ye, a Tang Dynasty poet who wrote of separation and loss. So the poetry is 8th century Chinese, the music was written in 16th century Spain and played by Edmund Pickering, my husband. The technology I have used is 21st century however, it also includes a 3D scan of a ceramic 18th century Qing figure of a scribe, this is a truly cross-history artwork.

Because of Corona Virus restrictions I have not travelled to China to exhibit and to collaborate with Chinese and other artist friends – I feel this separation deeply. This work is a message to my friends in China to tell them that I miss them very much.

NB Lots of people have difficulties learning to read and there are lots of techniques to help them to learn. So it’s really important to ask for help with this and for teachers and parents to spot if there’s a problem and start using those techniques as soon as possible.

My father was a dyslexic child growing up in 1930s/40s Ireland. He was beaten every day at school and left education at the age of 13 unable to read or write. He was lucky because when he went to work as a messenger boy for Hipp’s (gents clothing) a shop in Cork city, his boss was kind and helpful to him. That boss, advised my father to sign up for evening lessons at the School of Commerce (School of Com) and feeling very nervous he started his classes there. He was again very lucky to have a teacher who could understand his problem with reading and writing and this man changed my father’s life by teaching him to read and write when he was 16. 

I was fortunate not to have my father’s difficulties with literacy but two of my children are also dyslexic and I was really glad to have been prepared to help them because I knew my father’s story. If a child is having a hard time in their life, as many do, reading books, seeing art, making music are ways to escape the hardship, the grief and to think about other possibilities in the future. In short, these are ways for children to find themselves and to be their own people.

As an artist and former child, reading, not just for pleasure but for research and my own ongoing education is hugely important and so I feel very passionately about books and of course, trees!

The Museum of Childhood Ireland’s first virtual artist in residence

Fion Gunn will start her year-long programme at the museum with:


We launched this this afternoon with the children from the Robert Emmet CDP in Dublin 8. Fantastic, receptive audience. All  confident, wonderful 8-9yr old artists ( and readers!) in their own right, interested in poetry, music, art, making, creativity and thinking! They had so many questions for the wonderful artists who collaborated on this project: Terri Broughton, Eliza Cooey, Fion Gunn, and Tyson Richards

Don’t forget to tune in tonight to Lambeth Libraries, London, from 7-8pm, where you can get to meet the creators. It’s free to attend. Please find link to book your place here:

Fion Gunn Terri Broughton Robert Emmet Community Development Project Arts – British Council Lambeth Council 


The Museum of Childhood Ireland

‘Sheltering World’ is a collaboration featuring new media, animation, music and poetry which explores where and how human beings find shelter. The project has won an award from Arts Council England.

People get emotional shelter from their families, friends and communities, which is probably even more important than actual physical shelter from houses or caves, boats or tents. Fion Gunn talks about this saying “we also need the shelter of creativity, engaging with art, literature, music, dance, film and theatre, this is a kind of shelter which gives meaning, understanding and structure to our lives. In this last year full of uncertainty and fear, creating things, being able to make stuff, has been a lifeline for many people”

Fion created the virtual environment and filmed it, Terri created the animated child avatar, Tyson composed and performed the soundtrack and Eliza wrote the poetry. Tyson and Eliza have been living in emergency temporary accommodation in South London for the last 2 years. They have worked on this collaboration with Fion and Terri since July.


During the coming year Fion will create a series of digital artworks in collaboration with children and young people from the Robert Emmet Community Development Project in Dublin City and other groups of young people across the island of Ireland. The artworks will reflect on the current state of the world through the perspectives of the young.

Running online discussions, presentations and Q&A sessions Fion will respond to the children’s ideas, images and texts, finding ways to include their voices in her work – enabling them to make their mark.

Throughout the year Fion’s artworks will be showcased here on the MoCI website and at online events and discussions.



London Borough of Lambeth & Arts Council England

Recent Exhibitions by Fion Gunn:


– Aurelia Arts Festival, (online), September 2020

-Local Midsummer Arts Trail, 21 June, Stanthorpe Triangle, London

– Micro Solo Show ‘One Day at a Time’, 5-18 May in my front garden, Streatham, London

– ‘Tip Off’, On Paper Supreme touring exhibition 2020, curated by Chang Feng, Qingdao & Shenyang China


Solo Show at Candid Arts Trust, Angel, London

– Odyssey: Explorations – The Digital Journey showcased at Tate Liverpool and Open Eye Gallery Liverpool

– Odyssey: ExplorationsInteractiveExhibition in Tate Exchange Liverpool

– Odyssey: The Return, Dong Yue Art Museum, Beijing


Odyssey: Expedition – ASC Studios Space, London

– Artnight 2018:  Odyssey-The Journey Home, group show, The Workshop, London (featured artist and curator)

On Paper Supreme touring exhibition curated by Chang Fang, Shenyang & Qingdao, China

Excavations, group show, Enjoy Museum, 798, Beijing (featured artist and curator)

– Solo Show Age of Exploration, He Gallery, Beijing


– On Paper Supreme touring exhibition, Center for Contemporary Art, Guangzhou , Ordos Center for Art  & Culture, Ordos, Inner Mongolia

– Views from Distant Shores’ 3 person show, South London Refugee Centre, London (featured artist and curator)


Female Artists Nominations, group exhibition, Da Yun Tang Art Museum, Beijing

The Painted Thread, Yue Pavilion, 3 person show, Beijing

Intimate Transgressions, international touring exhibition, (2015-16) Whitebox, NYC, InterArt Gallery, 798 Beijing, Hangzhou Library, Hangzhou, China and Chiang Kai Shek Museum, Taipei, Taiwan (featured artist and lead curator)

Birth of a Nation, Ning Gallery 798 and Identity, EARC Space 798, Beijing (featured artist and lead curator)

Struggle, Sanwei Art Center, Shanghai (featured artist and lead curator)


IRISH WAVE, featured artist/lead curator for annual series of Irish/Chinese collaborative group exhibitions in Beijing & Shanghai at 798, M50, National Center for the Performing Arts and a wide variety of other public venues (total of 33 shows)


– Intimate Transgressions, international touring exhibition highlighting war and genocide rape, Whitebox, NY and Inter Gallery, 798,Beijing  (featured artist and lead curator) 

– Hohhot Biennial, University of Inner Mongolia, Inner Mongolia

-‘Sailing to Byzantium’, artist/curator, Leyden Gallery, London

-‘Memoire Traumatique’ curated  by Philippe Frydman  at ‘Au Medicis’ Gallery, Paris, France


-‘The Dress My Mother Wore’ installation, Lead artist in collaboration with Streatham Women’s Sewing Group CIC, at Streatham Festival, Museum of Childhood, Southbank Centre and Horniman Museum, London (ACE)

-‘Timeline Tourist’, Solo Show at Baltic Arts Center – Witches’ Tower, Slupsk, Poland


FILMS & Digital Artworks on YouTube: 

2020 One Day at a Time, micro exhibition–k

2020 Plant More Trees!

2020 Child of our Time

2019 Odyssey: Explorations – sketch for the new artwork

2019 Shorelines

2019 Odyssey: The Return – Huang Du’s Speech

2018 Age of Explorations – solo exhibition
2018 Excavations Exhibition

2018 Age of Exploration: Spice
2017 Writing in Water
2016 We’re All in the Same Boat
 documentary film by filmmaker Jane Clegg 
2015  Sinovision Coverage of INTIMATE TRANSGRESSIONS

The Dress My Mother Wore

Film of the Panel Discussion hosted by the ELIZABETH A. SACKLER CENTER FOR FEMINIST ART
Panel discussion moderated by Fion Gunn & Anita Glesta with panelists Shirin Neshat, Luisa Valenzuela, Eleanor Heartney