About Emily

About Emily

Emily Aoibheann is an Irish visual artist, auteur and aerialist. Her varied background leads to collaborative and original integration of multiple art forms crossing cultural contexts and mediums. Realised with a broad artistic and technical team, her contemporary circus practice acts as a lens through which to explore ideas of all kinds: political, philosophical, ecological, architectural, historical, magical. Her recent work concerns bodies without context and 'dances of dissolution'; art, administration and power structures; iatrogenesis and obstetrics; technology and progress; language, displacement, dwelling and death.  

In 2023, she founded the 'Experimental Circus Award', a pilot programme that supports intellectually engaged and unconventional circus practice in Ireland. From 2014 - 2020, Emily directed Creation Aerial Research & Ideas Studio, an independent artist resource and aerial dance school. Emily holds academic qualifications in English literature, philosophy, gender and equality studies and as a circus instructor with École Nationale de Cirque, Montreal. 

Her artistic work in 2022/ 2023 is supported by the Arts Council Arts Grant Award, as a Markievicz Award recipient, Animation Ireland Immersive Innovation Award, Fingal County Council Artist Bursary, Dance Ireland Hatch Award, and as a visiting artist at Project Arts Centre in Dublin, Courthouse Arts Centre and Mermaid Arts Centre, co. Wicklow.

Current work: 

With artists 1iing heaney, Rob Mirolo.
Also featuring work by sound artist Oliver Moloney, aerialist Isabel O'Grady and artist-technician Ross Ryder.

Previously unseen, private, uncanny, lurid and strange internal landscapes and dances of dissolution are revealed through an experimental multimedia exploration of the usurpation of the real by the virtual: the body without context. Motion, spatial data-capture technologies and immersive theatre principles are explored using aerial dance, digital art, design, illustration and animation. A complex web of multiple stories, this piece draws on the music of Maurice Ravel, Gaspard de la nuit, a suite of piano pieces inspired by the poetry of Aloysius Bertrand, including Ondine, a tale of impossible desire and necessary death in the meeting of material and immaterial worlds.

A Year of the Heart
With artist 1iing heaney.
Also featuring work by artist Mona Power and aerialist Georgina Cassels.
Consultants include: Jane Hackett, Michelle O'Rourke.

On ecstasy, betrayal, courage and the grand gestures of human expression born from the poetic tragedy of life, A Year of the Heart draws on musical traditions of Requiem from 13th century Franciscan ‘Kyrie’ to György Ligeti in the 1960s, combined with visions of floating stairways and endless portals. The artwork takes the spine and heart as choreographic starting points to expresses divine transcendence through dances of melancholic opulence and emotional awe. Inspired by European Christian art, with central emphasis on 'the Taking of Christ' by Caravaggio housed at the National Gallery of Ireland, the project incorporates ambitious and conceptual stage design, developed in collaboration with a skilled creative team.

With artist Roisín Blade.
Other participating artists include: Eithne Ní Chatháin, Rosie Stebbing, Aoife Kavanagh, Niamh Bury and Saoirse Lambkin-Kane. Creative assistant: Annique van Niekerk.

“What is my inheritance?”: An examination of the space between me and my paternal Grandmother and the ethno-nationalist uprising of 1916. My research draws on Ivan Illich’s concept of 'vernacular living', which describes the vital physical relationship to land, language and body through the act of dwelling in place, and iatrogenesis, a term brought to popular public awareness by Illich following the publication of his 1974 book Medical Nemesis. This is a multidisciplinary piece incorporating dance, music, sculpture and costume. A second chapter to this work, Cirque du Hibernia, is tangentially being developed.
Creative consultant across all current work: Abby Evans.


Object Piggy (2013-2015); Papaveracea (2015); Sorry Gold (2019); Mother of Pearl (2019). Director, PaperDolls (2010-2013); Co-founder and Director, Cat's Paw Experimental Aerial Dance Meeting, Slovakia; Director, Creation Aerial studio and school (2014 - 2020); Director, Experimental Circus Bursary Award; Artist in Residence at The Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely, Co. Wicklow, ongoing since 2018.

Portrait by Emilia Pasón, Mermaid Arts Centre, 2021