In 1989 my Irish parents moved to the United States seeking better opportunities—in 2015 I applied for an Irish passport and moved to Europe with the same intentions.
Taking on an additional nationality and returning to the continent that my family emigrated from has been a complex experience. Being a first-generation American and living abroad as a newly designated Irish national has led me to examine how Irish culture is altered and maintained through migration.
Overseas is an exploration of diasporic Irish culture through an intergenerational lens—featuring my ancestral home in rural Leitrim (the least populated county in Ireland), my parents’ surroundings in New York (the most populated city in the US), and my current life in multiple European cities. The series captures shifts in lifestyles prompted by immigration and time, while celebrating the hybridity that comes with being multilocal across many countries.
Clár Tillekens is an American-Irish photographer. She has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is currently a candidate for a Master of Arts in Photography at the University of the West of England Bristol.
Now living in Europe as the daughter of Irish immigrants, her work focuses on transnationalism, first-generation identity, and plural citizenship. With three-percent of the world’s population living outside of their country of origin—and with national identities becoming increasingly hyphenated through globalism—Tillekens explores cultural identities and varying layers of immigration. She is currently based between Bristol, England and Berlin, Germany.