In 2016, the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR estimates that 362,753 people fled to the EU by crossing the Mediterranean. Of these, more than five thousand have been reported missing or dead. Inspired by an RTÉ Documentary about the Irish Navy and their humanitarian rescue mission in the Mediterranean, Sheila decided to use her skills as a ceramic artist to highlight the situation.
‘With ‘Charon’s Boats’, I have created a ceramic installation which expresses my deep concern at the plight of migrants fleeing across the Mediterranean. Each of these boats honors the memory of one of the five thousand and more, men, women, and children who drowned in 2016. Most of these individuals do not even have a grave to mark their passing. My intention is that the visual impact of five thousand boats, seen en masse, will illustrate the enormity of this ongoing human catastrophe.
Donated to XR Ireland directly by the artist, a number of Charon’s Boats were re-imagined to create a unique reflection on migration and climate displaced peoples for the Irish Global Solidarity in 100 Objects exhibition by members of Extinction Rebellion Ireland.