Irene F. Sullivan artist writer

About the Artist

Irene F. Sullivan is an artist who creates milieus to acknowledge and mourn ecosystem loss. Her work is informed by philosophy, climate science, poetry and spirituality of resistance. Her paintings, artist books, videos soft sculptures and installation pieces hold the buoyancy of these milieus. She holds advanced degrees in Theology, Religious Studies and Trauma Nursing in addition to being the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, American Philosophical Society Field Research Grant and an NEA Colorado Career Advancement Award.

Sullivan lived in the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic for nearly a decade. Her fieldwork with the Yupik of Alaska and the Swampy Cree and Metis of Canada involved learning the storytelling practices of indigenous healers and their wisdom of plant, animal and water balances. Her Fulbright research revealed the diverse stories of Greenlandic Women Shamans and their healing practices. The richness of these experiences along with her 25 years of practice as a Nurse Practitioner weaves a unique tapestry for her work as an artist. Her art practice is best described by the Inukutitut word ikiagivik which literally means to search across time and space, to breathe shape into all that is vanishing. To re-claim and re-conceive resources that have been buried. In 2019 she founded the Grieving Planet Project to affirm her response to the planet crisis. The Grieving Planet Project is a compass for the transformational pathway of Lament, Resilience, and Action*1. The milieus created by Sullivan’s artwork offer safe space for mourning what has been lost so the passion and compassion necessary for action to save what has not yet been lost can be found.



1. Leah D. Shade & Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, eds. ROOTED & RISING p.xxvii, 2019, Rowan & 1 Littlefield.