Waterford City & County Council's Arts resource site
Garter Lane Arts Centre Exhibition Opening September 16th 7pm
An exhibition of new work by acclaimed Irish artist John Byrne opens in Garter Lane Arts Centre on Culture Night.
Would You Die for Ireland? presents a series of photographic works and installations by John Byrne exploring the artist’s childhood memories of growing up during the Troubles, exhibited alongside his iconic film, Would You Die for Ireland? The film, which was initially presented as a projection on a cell wall in Kilmainham Gaol to mark the bicentenary of the death of Robert Emmet in 2003, features the artist posing this emotive question to people on the streets of Belfast, Cork and Dublin. Those confronted included members of the public, the Gardaí, Defence Forces, The Orange Order and the-then Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern. As part of this solo exhibition in Garter Lane Arts Centre, John Byrne will present a reconsideration of this film in the context of the decade of commemorations.
The artist’s childhood experiences of trips to the GPO and the Gaeltacht are recalled in this exhibition through re-enactments in a series of new photographic works. Central to this exhibition is Byrne’s new sculptural work Peep, most recently exhibited in The Lab Gallery in Dublin and in the courtyard of the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris. This work was inspired by the origins of the Irish flag, first made in Paris in 1848, presented to Young Irelander Thomas Francis Meagher and flown for the first time in Ireland at the Wolf Tone Confederate Club, 33 The Mall, Waterford. Peep recalls the artist’s first memories of seeing the flag at Gaelic football matches in Belfast in the 1960s, when the Irish flag was effectively banned. The experience of seeing this high flying, pristine and exotic alignment of colours flown against the green Belfast hills instilled a certain excitement in the young John Byrne which he compares to an erotic encounter in this new work. Peep, he suggests, offers visitors a novel, discreet way of experiencing a nation’s colours in action, flown for their personal gratification in a very private setting.
Would You Die for Ireland? was curated by Sheena Barrett, Curator of the LAB Gallery, Dublin and co-produced with the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris with support from Dublin City Council, Dublin City Council 1916 Rising Commemorations Fund 2016 and the Arts Council. Would You Die for Ireland? opens in Garter Lane Arts Centre on Culture Night, Friday September 16th 2016.
John Byrne will deliver an Artist Talk at 7pm entitled From a South Facing Family.
The exhibition continues until October 29th 2016.
Opening hours: Tuesday- Saturday, 11.00am – 5.30 pm. Admission is free and all are welcome.