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    Exhibition on Irish men’s experience in Britain to tour Spain and US

    By Noreen Bowden | March 9, 2009

    An art exhibition exploring the experience of male Irish immigrants to Britain in the 20th Century is premiering at PM Gallery in West London this month before it goes on an international tour.

    The Quiet Men is the work of five artists drawing on their own lives to depict the London-Irish experience: Bernard Canavan, Daniel Carmody, John Duffin, Dermot Holland and Brian Whelan.

    From the gallery’s press release:

    Each featured artist is an immigrant, or child of immigrants, from Ireland. This immigrant status informs the work, which observes the margins of society and is full of stories, humour and tragedy. The church and pub appear, as do the launderette, bus and train. The theme of the journey is often present in the songs, toasts, poems and prayers of the immigrant and the artists do not stray far from the vehicles that brought them to the city and might take them away again.

    Exhibition curator and featured artist Brian Whelan says,

    ‘Irish music, literature, poetry and dance are celebrated all over the world. However, when asked to bring to mind Irish paintings, sculpture or architecture or to name an artist, many will have difficulty as very few have been celebrated outside Ireland. One reason for this may be that a people that experienced famine, war, economic hardship and mass immigration, carried only their portable culture with them in their heads, hearts and suitcases. Poems and songs have few requirements short of a good memory or the ability to carry a tune, whereas painting, sculpture and architecture are less portable and need peace, prosperity and time in order to flourish.’

    The exhibition will run from 11 March to 18 April at the PM Gallery, before it goes to Spain, Philadelphia and Chicago.

    Complementing the exhibition is a photographic exhibition, “Irish Londoners 1950-1975”, which chronicles the lives of the London Irish after the Second World War. The photographs are from the Paddy Fahey Collection at Bernt Archive.
    See more information at the PM Gallery’s website.

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