Odd, wouldn’t you say, that there are very few art exhibitions in Dublin about the Easter Rising in this centenary year. There have been concerts, readings, plays and poetry evenings – but not much art. For various reasons, the visual artists seem to steer clear of ‘political’ work – but in my opinion, all art is political. It cannot be separated from the society from which it emerges. And I’m happy to read in the Irish Times that the artistic director of Project Arts Centre agrees with me!
“What surprises me most”, he writes, “is that some citizens believe that art should or can only be neutral – that an arts organisation should not present work that challenges the status quo… It is vital for art and artists to be at the centre of our nation’s great debates – as indeed, they always have been…”
Hmmm, I’m not so sure that artists have been at the centre of our nation’s “great debates”. It seems to me that they (like many citizens) have been particularly reluctant to deal with our turbulent history, with the legacy of Colonialism, with questions of our National identity and such. Anyway, I’m not here today to be ‘artist bashing’ (we have it hard enough as it is), but I thought I’d remind you of the group exhibition “Republic”, at the Olivier Cornet Gallery at the mo, because this exhibition is quietly reflecting on the aspirations of the Proclamation and commemorating those who died in the struggle for Irish independence. It was officially opened by Eamon Ryan of the Green Party during the summer.
Here’s a short film of the exhibition below, if you can’t see it immediately, you should click into the actual blog… If you see an elephant in the room, well – that’s my contribution.
Your comments are always welcome. Did you see any of the 1916 art projects funded by the state this year? If you did, what did you think? Have you been in to see “Republic” at the Olivier Cornet Gallery yet? If not, why not? 😉