Meghan Rice - Sheela-na-Gigs of Ancient Britain
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Amongst the many carvings peering down at you from church doorways and castle walls you may one day encounter a figure to inspire feelings of shock, disgust, confusion and more than a little intrigue. Brazenly displaying all their assets, these unusual carvings known as sheela-na-gigs have mystified scholars and inspired artists for centuries. But WHAT they are and WHY are they there in some of the last places you'd expect to see an image that could arguably be considered lewd, is still very much open to debate. Not only that, but historians still dispute WHEN were they carved and, indeed, by WHO. Do they have any relevance today or are they simply antiquated curiosities shrouded in academic mystery? This presentation will contain images of sheela-na-gig carvings, as well as modern artist's interpretations. It will also discuss their place and relevance in more detail, and due to the explicit nature of the talk, it may not be suitable for young audiences; parental discretion is advised!
Meghan Rice holds an MA in Early Modern History (King's College London) with a concentration in Irish and British history. Her undergraduate dissertation was on sheela-na-gigs, a topic she still avidly pursues, while her MA dissertation discussed why the Tudor English characterised the Irish during that period as 'pagan'. She also works as a 'doula', helping women and couples to have a more rewarding and empowering birth experience, with images of sheela-na-gigs acting as one of the many visualisation tools she employs in this role.
Filmed at Megalithomania 2012, Glastonbury UK by Pentos TV - http://www.pentos.tv