Irish photographer Shia Conlon captures trans tenderness in new exhibition

Shia Conlon’s new exhibition, Sites of Dreaming, captures the simple beauty in everyday trans life.

Image of by Shia Conlon for trans exhibition of him hugging a person.
Image: Photo by Shia Conlon (sourced on @photoireland via Instagram)

Sites of Dreaming, a new exhibition from Irish photographer Shia Conlon, is now on show in Dublin’s The Library Project. Running from April 4 to May 5, it captures trans tenderness in Finland.

Born and bred in Ireland, Conlon is an artist and writer who now works primarily in Helsinki. Raised in the centre of a working-class Catholic society, most of his work has been inspired by the marginalised voices he grew up listening to.

His new exhibit gives strength to these voices by showing the healthcare journey of trans people in Finland, highlighting the many ways in which the community showed up for one another throughout their transitions.



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A post shared by Shia Roan Conlon (@shiaconlon)

The exhibition highlights the detailed beauty and overlooked simplicities of being trans. Its goal is to bring awareness to trans power, as it questions the perpetual stereotypes that come along with diverse gender identities. This is Conlon’s way of combatting the transphobic rhetoric within Finnish healthcare.

In a statement about his exhibition, Shia Conlon explains that “In a world where dialogues surrounding trans-ness are usually centred on our fighting moments, our protests, our trauma and pain, Sites of Dreaming brings a quieter reality to the forefront. One where power is found in everyday domestic moments.”



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A post shared by Shia Roan Conlon (@shiaconlon)

Conlon’s exhibition comes to Dublin as part of New Irish Works – an initiative seeking to highlight new voices in Ireland and bring a variety of perspectives to the Irish art scene. Run by PhotoIreland, New Irish Works runs in three-year cycles, intending to showcase the diversity of Irish photography. 

With the support of Inspirational Arts and the Arts Council of Ireland, 10 artists were able to show their work at The Library Project as part of New Irish Works. This exhibition ran from 2023 to 2024 and included work by Audrey Blue, Cian Byrne, Mark Duffy, Bryony Dunne, Jialin Long, Pauline Rowan, Martin Seeds, Martin Cregg, and Róisín White. Shia Conlon’s exhibition on trans beauty is the 10th and final piece for the New Irish Works series, which comes to a close in May.

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