My chosen name is Riain Pádraig Ó Ceallacháin. I was raised in an Irish-American home in Laquey, Missouri. Growing up in the Midwestern United States, I often found myself simultaneously seduced by and critical of common displays of Irishness, such as getting a Celtic tattoo, wearing green from head to toe, or drinking copious amounts of green beer and Guinness.
My work investigates this, the contemporary Irish identity: its origins, its clichés, and its unstable definitions of authenticity. Thus far, this has culminated primarily in video performance art, wherein I seek to critique my own personal displays of Irishness through symbolic performance. In my private life, I am in the process of obtaining Irish citizenship through my Irish ancestry, and I have legally changed my name from Ryan Patrick Johnson to the de-anglicized version of my familial name, Riain Pádraig Ó Ceallacháin. Yet, these actions are as performative as any other display of Irishness.
In short, I am in search of a more honest and globalized Irish identity. I seek a greater understanding of what it means to perform politics, to perform ethnicity, to perform gender, to perform change, and, of course, to perform Irishness.