|John Coll's Famine Funeral|
Art and the Great Hunger is an exhibition of the world’s largest collection of famine related art and is being shown for the first time in Ireland. The collection, from Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, constitutes a direct link to the past of almost 6.5 million Irish, and 40 million Irish-American people. The exhibition may be viewed at Uillinn, West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen until 13 October 2018 (Monday to Saturday: 10.00 am to 4.45 pm) and will be in Derry after Christmas.
This major undertaking aims to strengthen the deep cultural connection between Ireland and its diaspora by showcasing the world’s largest collection of Great Hunger-related art never before exhibited on Irish soil. Please join with us in making this powerful artistic, cultural and educational endeavor a memorable one.
Walk in here to the Uillinn and you will cry, silently perhaps, but you will weep for the individual losses and the communal loss that dealt a close to knockout blow to the Irish nation, a blow that still reverberates. Who knows how this country would now stand if the four million needlessly lost to us through death and emigration had remained fed and healthy.
One poor soul has reached the end of the hungry road in John Coll's Famine Funeral (above), the corpse carried by a quartet who themselves are on their last legs, each wondering who will remain to carry him. And will there be someone there to identify him and make sure he is buried in consecrated ground? Many weren't given that privilege, vagrants and new-born babies among them.
The exhibition features works that focus on the time of the famine and its aftermath. Paintings dominate but the handful of sculptures, most of them modern, make powerful statements just like Famine Funeral. Many escaped the famine by boat only to die on arrival in New York and they are honoured by Rowan Gillespie's Statistic 1 & 11.
|Detail from Rowan Gillespie's Statistic 1|