A spark of humanity?

oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of empty apartment block
“Nightwatch”, 90 x 80 cm, oil on canvas, 2010

Hard to know what to write these days, with the ongoing war in Ukraine, but here’s a painting I did some years ago that seems to refer to the current awful situation.

It was painted back in 2010 when I was working on a series of oil paintings on the theme of homelessness.  I called it “Nightwatch” and I was thinking of someone alone in an empty, abandoned building, someone who had themselves been abandoned by society.

And yet, I thought that there might’ve been a little hope there, that the light in the window might mean that there was some warmth there, that there was still a little spark of humanity left in the situation.

drawing of boy marker on cardboard by eoin mac lochlainn

And I was listening to some report on the radio about parents sending their children across the border to safety and they just couldn’t get that picture out of their minds of their little boy walking off alone with his backpack…

The drawing above was also from my homeless series (seen at the Bourne Vincent Gallery in the University of Limerick in 2012).  Again, I thought that this image was not necessarily hopeless. Who knows what lies ahead for this little boy? How will he fare in the future?

The awful horror of the situation in Ukraine has been met with a surge of charity and compassion from ordinary people across the world. That’s worth thinking about, wouldn’t you say?  So many people have been inspired to reach out and to help in whatever way they can. More than just a spark of humanity – oodles of it!

As the bold Shakespeare once wrote (ahem):  “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones”



PS:  “Nightwatch” can be seen at the Olivier Cornet Gallery.


  1. .. need all the sparks we can get for sure, but, yes, dead right, it is great to also feel a huge groundswell of generosity and practical kindness in response to the awfulness of the moment. M<


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