Left Bank Leeds
ART, CONFLICT & REMEMBERING
THE MURALS OF THE BOGSIDE ARTISTS
Ashburnham Place, Sussex
19-29 January 2020 (exact dates tbc); Hosted by Sparks
The Exchange, Bush House, London
2-30 April 2020, Hosted by the Department of War Studies and the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Kings College London.
New College, University of Edinburgh
Hosted by the Centre for Theology and Public Issues
School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh
Opening Symposium, 21 August 2019
Above from right to left: Prof. Jolyon Mitchell (chair); Kevin Hasson (Bogside Artist); Dr. Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin (curator); Tom Kelly (Bogside Artist); Prof. Christine Bell (Constitutional Law, University of Edinburgh); Brendan McAllister (Advocate for Victims of Institutional Abuse)
Tom Kelly talking about the Peace Mural
Kevin Hasson talking about John Hume and the Battle of the Bogside 50 years ago (12-14 August 1969)
Exhibition at Beyond Bonders International Festival
Above left: Interest in exhibition banner from security police
Above right: New College Quad at night during Fringe Festival
Below: New College Quad after the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Left Bank Leeds, November 2018
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
A wound must be cleaned out and examined before it will heal; it is the unexamined wound that festers and eventually poisons. Bishop Desmond Tutu
Our work shows the wounds. The Bogside Artists
Reconciliation happens when my enemy tells me my story and I am able to say: ‘That is my story’. Stanley Hauerwas, theologian
This is our story: what is yours? The Bogside Artists
The exhibition ‘Art, Conflict and Remembering’ tells the story of the Troubles in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland through the twelve murals of the Bogside Artists called The People's Gallery.
The Bogside was the epicentre of the violent, thirty-year conflict that officially began on 5th October 1968 with a non-sectarian civil rights march in Derry, and concluded with the Good Friday Agreement on 10th April 1998 in Belfast.
The murals depict seminal events from that period - from the civil rights marches and Bloody Sunday to the direct rule from Westminster and the peace process - as experienced first-hand by the artists and their community. All three artists grew up in the Bogside during this turbulent time. Each lost family and friends.
Unlike most murals in Northern Ireland, the Bogside Artists’ murals are distinctly non-sectarian. They carry no slogans or emblems linking them to any para-military group. They do not romanticise the past or glorify violence.
Instead they serve as commemorative talking points to process painful memories and draw attention to the long-lasting trauma and effects of conflict on ordinary citizens, not only in Northern Ireland but in many other places of the world.
Art sometimes speaks more powerfully than words. The exhibition aims to provide a safe space for remembering and open-ended cross-community conversations that can nurture empathy and mutual understanding.
The exhibition aims to increase awareness of this traumatic period in Britain’s recent history and the ongoing pain and struggles of ordinary citizens on both sides. It explores the role of grassroots public art in helping people process painful memories, especially when they are often urged ‘to draw a line under the past’ and ‘move on.’ Politicians on both sides are keen rewrite history to their own advantage and re-brand Northern Ireland as an inclusive ‘post-conflict’ society.
7 September - 29 November 2019
13 September 2019
Exhibition Opening with Bogside Artists Tom Kelly and Kevin Hasson and curator Adrienne Chaplin
18 September 2019
Public Lecture 'Mending Fences or Building New Ones?' by The Right Revd the Lord Eames, previous Archbishop of Armagh and primate of All Ireland (1986-2006); peace negotiator during the Troubles.
Above and below: historic photographs of the Bogside during the Troubles displayed around the tomb of Richard III.
Yet, despite a peace agreement and a power-sharing government, its social fabric still contains deeply ingrained sectarian divisions. At a time of new uncertainties about Northern Ireland’s future, not least through Brexit and the DUP’s role in Westminster, examining the wounds inflicted by this conflict on ordinary people, including a whole generation of children and young people who lost out on any ordinary childhood and education, has never been more relevant.
This relevance is not confined to Northern-Ireland’s borders. While deeply rooted in the turbulence of local Bogside history, the images depicted capture universal human experiences that resonate with people from across the world, especially those from other regions of conflict or post-conflict. As a story of violations of civil rights, radicalisation and violence, truth recovery and peace, the murals’ universal story inevitably transcends their site-specific time and place.
In order to reflect on any lessons that may be learned from the experience of Northern Ireland, the travelling exhibition aims to provide a safe space for broad, inclusive cross-community conversations around the following themes:
ethno-religious discrimination and violations of civil rights
radicalisation and terrorism
peacebuilding and truth recovery
remembering the past in ‘post-conflict’ societies
the role of public art in commemorative healing and reconciliation
© 2018 Art, Conflict & Remembering