The Selkie series continues Murphy’s long-running theme of “otherness” by referencing the Selkie myth of beings that are part seal, part women, who can become trapped on land if their coat is stolen. There are many versions of the myths, some ending with the women choosing to stay on land with their families despite the heart-wrenching loss of the sea, with others given no choice but to stay, as without their coat they are unable to return to their seal form. Murphy’s photographs document an “unknowing”. Even with no knowledge of the Selkie Myth, the woman appears out of place, her elegant coat incongruous for the cliff-side setting. Why is she there? What is she going to do? The sea looks ominous and there is a sense of foreboding.

This series has been exhibition in Moxie Studios, Dublin 2014 and Dunamaise Arts Centre 2017. Works from the series are held in private collections in Ireland and the UK and are also available as a book.

Selkie (Book) 


© Sharon Murphy 2023