We had the opening of Dídean/ Home in Belfast last Thursday. It was a great night. There was a nice atmosphere and a lovely warm welcome for us at the Cultúrlann, in the heart of the Gaeltacht Quarter of Belfast. In my speech I talked about the yearning for ‘Home’. The word ‘Dídean’ in Irish is perhaps a better word than ‘Home’ because it also means: shelter, sanctuary or safety. The fact that Irish was the main language spoken in the Cultúrlann that night made it very special for me, as I grew up in an Irish–speaking family. I suppose it made me feel more at home. But in truth, don’t we all long to feel at home? I think that this was the real theme of my exhibition.
I had 19 works on show and as usual the topic of ‘who the characters in the paintings were’ came up. And as usual people thought that they were me – me as an older man, me as a homeless guy, me as a girl(?) They weren’t (!) but you know – there is something of me in all of them. I think that these paintings are about feelings, feelings that I haven’t quite put into words, feelings that… Well actually, other people are better equipped to write about this than I am. I find it very interesting to hear other people’s views because they often make wise observations about the work, about aspects of it that I mightn’t be aware of.
I’m more involved with the practicalities, whether I’m working in the studio or deciding on the layout of an exhibition. It’s the lighting, the spacing, the colour, the materials etc. Dánlann Dillon in the Cultúrlann is a long space. It has one long curved wall that is 69 feet in length, and although it is very well lit, it is a bit of a challenge for the artist. These are the elements that keep me awake at night. The underlying themes just make their way through on their own.
( Could this be true? )
The image above is called “Oíche/ Night”, 50 x 50cm, oil on canvas and the photo below is Fionnuala Rockett, myself, Róisín Ní Chéileachair (who opened the show) and Eimear Ní Mhathúna, representing the Cultúrlann.
You can see more images of the show on my website at www.emacl.com
Information also at: www.culturlann.ie