The People, The Land - artistic responses to the 1916 Rising
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.
Paul Woods, Artist’s Statement
The men and women who fought in the 1916 Rising were individuals of moral courage and conviction who acted on their principles and beliefs for the betterment of their country and people. The imagery of the heroic martyrs and their stance in the G.P.O are probably the most iconic and familiar representations handed down to us from generation to generation. But there are other equally powerful visual encounters from the Rising to be explored and looked at in today’s society. Ground-breaking events in history involve a large degree of violence and physical destruction. Apart from the casualties involving military personnel, civilians were unintentionally caught up in the events of this dramatic conflict resulting in the deaths of many women and children. The Easter Rising was also unique for the role and contribution that many women actively played in it.
Warfare and conflict are the predominant themes in my work - I believe that events of the past, often unresolved or misrepresented, have a great influence on our understanding of society and community today. Through my art I deal with past and present traumas from history. I try to use the mnemonic potential of painting to weave together conflating personal stories and collective events. I choose my subjects from several categories: architectural structures, organic and plant forms, personal artefacts, people's faces, geographical landmarks.
While ideals and principles are fought over in uprisings and insurrections, the end result is invariably the tragic loss of innocent civilians and the physical destruction of treasured landmarks and buildings. In the works for The People, The Land exhibition I focus on the unprecedented scale of urban destruction that resulted from the actions in the 1916 Rising.