Chelsea Cafe Project #24

The Freeborn Exchange Celebrating Ireland 2016

Gavin Freeborn

November 14 2016 – January 14 2017


The Freeborn Exchange Celebrating Ireland 2016 is a series created at Cashel Arts Festival, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, September 2016. The artist Gavin Freeborn aims to provide current and future generations with a snapshot of the public feeling in relation to Ireland 2016, the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Freeborn set up a pop up portrait studio in Cashel’s Heritage Centre where festival goers and members of the public were invited in to converse with him about what Ireland 2016 means to them. The artist also made audio recordings of the conversations for archival purposes.

This exhibition of four of the 100 portraits also coincides with a pop up exhibition featuring a selection of 10 larger poster portraits in the display window of Cashel’s Supervalu supermarket. Freeborn is currently creating a book including 100 portraits, quotes and further context for the project, to be launched by the end of 2016.

The series is also part of the ongoing Freeborn Exchange project, which has been made by the artist in 25 countries worldwide since November 2011. It focuses on Freeborn’s travels exchanging portraits, objects, stories, hospitality and more. The artist has created his own alternative currency and economy.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the project. The Cashel Arts Festival is supported by Tipperary County Council.


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About the artist

Gavin Freeborn, originally from Donegal, Ireland, is a Brixton based photographer, arts educator, marketing and communications professional. Freeborn specialises in portrait and documentary photography, and the art of networking online through social media and offline in the real world. Freeborn’s work explores the evolution of identity and economy. Alongside a showcase of the Freeborn Exchange and a pop up portrait studio, his April 2015 show at Chelsea College of Arts involved Freeborn selecting and curating work related to the idea of exchange. He engaged staff and students from curating & collections, fine art, graphic design communication, textile design, and interior & spatial design. In March 2016 the artist was invited to give a TEDx talk about The Freeborn Exchange, hoping to inspire others to explore their potential alternative currency in everyday life.

More details via Freeborn social media, so please feel free to connect/keep in touch or propose an exchange of your own with Freeborn for your portrait.

Instagram @freebornlive | Twitter @gavinfreeborn  | |

#FreebornExchange     #Ireland2016        #CashelArtsFest


About the project The Chelsea Cafe Project is a series of displays of work by students and staff from Chelsea College of Arts. These changing displays are a chance to see some of the talent here at Chelsea from across a diverse range of disciplines. The series is curated in collaboration with CHELSEA space (opposite) as part of the Public Programme.For more information please contact Cherie Silver at or in person at CHELSEA space.


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