You might recognise this man Colm Roddy – he’s a peace activist and he’s often seen standing in protest outside the Dáil in Dublin. I painted his portrait for the upcoming art exhibition ‘Drawing on Don Quixote’ at the Opera Festival in Wexford.
My reason? Well, everyone knows that Don Quixote attacked windmills because he imagined they were giants. You could say that he was eccentric – but I don’t think that he was crazy.
He was an idealist, he yearned for the days of chivalry and he decided to become a knight-errant and set out to right the wrongs of the world. I would say that he realised it was a tall order – but he wanted to set an example.
Don’t we still need people like Don Quixote to try to right wrongs? Don’t we still need our knights in shining armour?
So Colm Roddy is a bit of a knight-errant himself. He broke into Shannon Airport to highlight the fact that US warplanes were using the airport as a refueling base for their military operations around the world.
Along with Dave Donnellan, he sprayed red crosses on the runway to represent all the innocent blood spilt in these foreign wars.
“I try to follow the command of Jesus”, he said, “to love your neighbour as yourself – and for me, the Iraqis, the Yemenis, the Syrians who are being slaughtered (they) are my neighbours… and I feel we are complicit…”
Ireland is a neutral country. We don’t take part in foreign wars but, according to US vice president Mike Pence, we give a warm Irish welcome to US troops “either on their way into the fight or on their way home.”
How neutral is that?
So that’s my take on the theme of Don Quixote. The exhibition is curated by Olivier Cornet for the Opera Festival at the National Opera House in Wexford. It will feature all new works by artists associated with his gallery and the grand opening is tomorrow at 6pm. That’s Friday, the 18th of October, 2019.