As it was in the beginning….

The artists are no great advocates of ‘CVs’ irrespective of the importance placed upon them by art schools and colleges.  In the art world, it is an area in which deception is easy and prevalent. Just as a slide can give a completely false picture of an artefact in terms of color, dimensions, texture and so on, (almost always flattering), so to and even moreso, can a CV. There are artists whose singular achievement has not been anything they produced at all, but solely their CVs. That should tell you something about the state of the art world, all by itself.

Irish art is still tethered to the European tradition and has as much character of its own as its British counterpart. Such learned tomes that are written about it are careful to leave out those practitioners who are trying to relay genuine responses to the world they find themselves in. The rest sport the mantel of ‘contemporary’ and fight for their positions on the various bandwagons from ‘conceptual’ to ‘minimal’ that constitute the utter confusion of “postmodern” culture. Novelty, shock, nonsense, still rule, while true creativity goes underground, ashamed of its honest limitations.

You have to dig deep to find the psychogenesis of the disease. When you do, you will find too that it was staring you in the face all the time.  The origin of our cultural malaise lies in the death of the sacred.  It may indeed be left to the socalled ‘primitives’, such as the Aborigines, to salvage us from our self-inflicted blindness.  Meanwhile the ‘modern’ artists  goes blithely on his way,  following his remit to “challenge” the public with his work, convinced that if the public is duly upset, annoyed, reactionary or condemning, he will cut a swathe through the herd to his place in the heavens of fame and fortune.  Such credulity or the part of artist and public alike beggars belief.  The following is purely factual and does not seek to be otherwise.

DERRY – The Calgach Centre (the artist’s studio) Jan’98
MILDURA, Aus – The Mildura Arts Centre,Victoria Feb’98
SYDNEY, Aus – ACU (Aus. Catholic Uni), St Marys Campus May’98
SYDNEY – THE UNI. SYDNEY, College of The Arts May’98
(These two exhibitions running concurrently was the first ever collaboration on an art exhibition by these two institutions).

BOSTON, USA – Bapst Library, Boston College July’98
(This show hosted by Professors Raymond Helmick and John Michalcyzk marked the first time ever the magnificent Bapst Library was given over to an art exhibition).

ORANGE COUNTY, USA – Rocklands Community College Sept’98
NEW YORK – The Irish Centre, Manhattan Dec’98
BOSTON – The Boston State House May’99
(The show here at the venerated ADAMS BUILDING was extended from an initial week to over four).

BOSTON – Boston College, The Rolesham Arts Centre Oct’99
PHILADELPHIA, USA – The John Moore Col. Gallery Sept’01
PHILADELPHIA – Villanova University Gallery Sept’01
LONDON, The Horse Hospital Gallery Oct’03
FRANKFURT, GERMANY – The Kunstmuseum Nov’03
BELGIUM, Couvy Community Gallery Sept ’04

The touring show in the USA is the most comprehensive explication in art form on the subject of the Troubles to have come out of Ireland. It comprises paintings, texts and photographs. It is at present in New Brunswick, Canada, where it will begin touring in 2006.

MILDURA – Mildura Arts Centre, Victoria Jan’00
PERTH – The Perth International Fringe Festival Feb’00
(This exhibition at the PICA gallery was put together by the artists especially for the festival used text, slides, film and cibachromes of work already on tour in Australia. They also painted in public a large-scale mural at the gallery during the show).

ADELAIDE – The Red House Community Gallery March’00
PORT MACARTHUR – The Fountain Gallery April’00
ADELAIDE – The Onkaparinga Arts Centre

May/ June’00

MELBOURNE – ACU, St. Patricks Campus Sept/Oct’00
NEWCASTLE- Newcastle Regional University Nov/Dec’00
SYDNEY – ACU, St. Marys Campus Dec/Jan’00
BRISBANE – ACU, McAuley Campus Jan/Feb’01
BRISBANE – The Q’LD Irish Association Feb’01

This tour of Australia is now over. From Limerick to Philadelphia and New York to Sydney and Perth, The Bogside Artists have given numerous talks on their work. They have opened a wide-ranging debate on the role of the artist in society, focusing specifically on politics and cultural expression. They have written many articles for newspapers and magazines including, Hot Press, Fortnight, The Irish Times and Exhibita.  

They have so far featured in eight documentaries, in particular “What You See Is What You Get” a BBC forty-five minute film devoted to the artists and their work. They have recently featured in a documentary called “Walls For Change” by Cindy Leaney that was broadcast nationally in Canada and North America. So began a journey into art that was to result in The People’s Gallery, a series of eleven murals that regally span the width of one whole street, Rossville Street, in the heart of Derry, their home town.

So began a journey into art that was to result in The People’s Gallery, a series of eleven murals that regally span the width of one whole street, Rossville Street, in the heart of Derry, their home town.