Dorothy Cross (b.1956, Cork; lives Co. Galway) is one of Ireland's leading artists with a practice that encompasses a range of media, including sculpture, photography, film and opera. Her art conveys a poetic and passionate interest in the relationship between nature and culture.
Dorothy Cross was the first of the artists to visit the Galápagos, travelling there in April 2007. She was accompanied by her friend, the actor and director Fiona Shaw. She had already visited the Galápagos in 1994 and scuba-dived among hammerhead sharks, living aboard a boat and swimming at night with sea-lions delineated by phosphorescence. Thirteen years later she was dismayed by the increase in the human population and its deleterious impact on animals and their habitats.
She had been commissioned by Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery to create a show for the bicentenary of Charles Darwin's birth in 2009. An exhibition of her work was subsequently shown in Shrewsbury's Unitarian Church, which Darwin attended as a child with his mother. It included her film Stage that combines shots of the extraordinary animals that exist on the Islands, overlaid by recordings of conversations between Cross and Shaw, in which they attempt to answer difficult questions about the role of art in such a place as the Galápagos. The work ends with images of Shaw sitting in a room full of whale bones and dead tortoise shells - a depository they found, dusty and locked up, in the centre of the Charles Darwin Research Station. Stage was based on a poem by American writer Emily Dickinson about abdication, which mirrored their feelings of the need for abdication during their visit to the Islands.