The Tempest: Ireland. Memory. Identity.
Proudly standing as a gateway to North Belfast, the beautiful Carlisle Memorial Church in Belfast, which towers over the busy Carlisle Circus intersection, is perhaps one of oldest venues to play host to excellence, in this years’ Belfast International Arts Festival.
From the 10th-28th October the high Victorian neo-Gothic building will display a significant exhibition by one of Ireland’s leading international artists, Hughie O’Donoghue.
Hughie has expanded on the themes explored in his body of work “One Hundred Years and Four Quarters” which was shown at Galway International Arts Festival last year. Foregrounded are three new major works, some over 6 meters in length.
The characters O’Donoghue has evoked are revolutionary; the soldier, the sailor and the rural farmer. Through their differing perspectives the events that have shaped the century are alluded to in an attempt to explore the subjective and fugitive nature of truth.
Previewing the exhibition Richard Wakely, Festival Chief Executive said,
“Memory and history are key emotional drivers for one of our greatest living artists, Hughie O’Donoghue. In common with many events in the 2017 Belfast International Arts Festival, his new exhibition, “The Tempest: Ireland; Memory; Identity”, the past is somehow a way to make sense of the present. His dramatic, large scale paintings consist of many layers and films of oil pigment with several having photographs embedded within, thereby adding another layer of imagery and metaphor.”
“The works in this signature event for our 2017 edition at the beautifully renovated Carlisle Memorial Church are sure to deeply resonate with our own complex and layered histories here in Northern Ireland. We are particularly grateful to the Government of Ireland for their generous financial support for this exhibition and to Belfast City Council and our partners for their support.”
As the title suggests, the exhibition is a culmination of paintings, painted constructions and sculpture drawn from the artist’s own experience and connections, people and places that he knew, or knew of. Hughie was born in Manchester in 1953. His paternal grandparents had left Co Kerry four decades earlier; his mother had come from north Co Mayo in 1937, where Hughie now resides. Hughie has had 20 highly successful years at the heart of English painting, with a residency at the National Gallery in London, a teaching position at Goldsmiths and was elected as a member of the Royal Academy in London and to Aosdána in Ireland.
Suzanne Lyle, Head of Visual Arts, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,
“As Principal Funder of the Belfast International Arts Festival, the Arts Council is proud to support this exhibition by one of Ireland’s leading international artists, through National Lottery and public funding. By programming this exhibition, the Festival continues to bring the highest quality, top international work to Belfast; I would encourage everyone to go along for what promises to be an exceptional, impressive exhibition.”
Shane Quinn from Belfast Buildings Trust, added,
“Belfast Buildings Trust is pleased to partner with the Belfast International Festival on this landmark event. Carlisle Memorial Church is a fitting and atmospheric home for The Tempest for the next three weeks. Hughie's work has a rawness and an authenticity matched by the space in Carlisle Memorial Church, so we very much hope that it will add to people's experience of The Tempest. The Trust is focused on returning the building to productive use, and we are delighted that more people will get to be a part of it through the Festival."
The exhibition will be open from 10am-5pm, Tuesday to Sunday and entry is free. For more information on the 191 shows in this years’ Festival, please visit www.belfastinternationalartsfestival.com.