Derry's Famous Murals-The People's Gallery created by The Bogside Artists


the gasmask mural in derry.

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We return from Shenzhen China where we painted a mural for the Dafen Museum.   Our Mural at Dafen

China was a big experience us all. For the first time we got to associate with other muralists, many of them well known if not famous in their own countries. Some we liked, some we didn't. Some liked us and some didn't but it seems all the Chinese liked us with few or any exceptions. We completed our mural, like the rest in sweltering heat. Shenzhen is noted for its seasonal monsoons but we saw little evidence of that except on one memorable day when the rains came with a vengeance. China, in any case, was a great experience. The organizers promised to bring us back. We look forward to that.

We were elected to speak for all the artists present at the end of the festival. Tom, before a  packed house of media and fellow artists said the following:
"Ananda Coomaraswamy, the famous Indian scholar, summed up our approach to art in a few words. He said; "The artist is not a special type of human being but every human being is a special type of artist."  Contemporary art and particularly contemporary public art has become a kind of show business that can be traced back to that egocentric showman Salvador Dali. Our work, in a sense, takes issue with that notion as we deal with the real world and our perceptions of it. That iswhy there are no airs or graces about us or our work...

The organizers of this remarkable festival, namely Zhou Hongmei and Meng Yan of Urbanus, which we see as a homage to Dafen village here in Shenzhen have given us an opportunity to address a simple brief to state what we think and feel  about Shenzhen and its people. We are thankful indeed to all who work at Urbanus for this opportunity. Thanks especially to Karen who has been a wonderful helper and hostess and to Jeffery Zhang whose tolerance and patience under fire have been simply amazing. We hope they go on to manage further festivals of this nature. Last, but not least, our warmest thanks to all the Chinese artists we have worked with, to Bruce and Long Beard, Lei Lei and others, to the girls who brought us coffee and Vicki our interpreter and to Jiamin especially for his insights into another China we have yet to see. It has been a wonderful experience for us all."

In the public debate that followed we made it clear as to the sort of difficulties we have back home thanks to the sick collective we have dubbed "Moriarty" and his ilk. You can find out all about them on the People and Us link, left. We also made it clear that we stand above all for freedom of speech and we sympathized with Chinese artists who were not so blessed but it seems to us that freedom of speech is the most threatened basic human right on the planet and that was why we wrote FREEDOM AND ART on our mural. This received rapturous applause. We then talked exclusively in turn for the evening news camaramen. It was a great experience all told and we are immensely proud of our mural and the reception it received. Shenzhen is a great place to be and the people just wonderful.



Photos; (1) The organizers and us.  (2) Featured in China's main newspaper.






copyright The Bogside Artists, creators of The People's Gallery, Derry, N.Ireland. All rights reserved.