Owen O’Malley is Lorraine Tuck’s maternal uncle. The youngest of seven siblings, he was born in Recess, Connemara in 1972. He has Down Syndrome and is gender fluid – at times identifying as a gay man, and at other times as a woman called ‘Pink’.
Owen is more like a ‘bruncle’ to Lorraine. As children, she and her sisters would all play with Owen, staying for long summer holidays with him and their granny. It was clear that Owen enjoyed experimenting with dresses and shoes. A favourite game was ‘Here Comes the Bride’: granny’s net curtains, bedsheets and the hall stairs were pressed into service as veil, gown and aisle. Owen was always the bride, sometimes the pregnant bride.
Owen now lives in Galway city, in assisted accommodation provided by a great team at Ability West. He is a keen performer and takes part in shows and spectacles with Limelight Creative Arts. He is frequent visitor to Lorraine’s family farm. Since 2015, Lorraine has photographed Owen/Pink’s personas, and Owen/Pink directs the photo shoots with enthusiasm. There collaborative sessions are full of laughter and fun and bring everyone involved great happiness.
Uncle Owen runs at Photo Museum Ireland until Saturday November 11.