11 May The Duel of Belfast, Dance by Candlelight
I was invited to paint this wall by the lovely people at the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. I’d been to Northern Ireland before but never Belfast. It’s a place imbedded in my mind from years of hearing about it on the news as a kid but like a lot of people growing up south of the border all the Troubles seemed a million miles away.
In a way, I’ve always thought Belfast was the last place I could paint. They have such a strong tradition of sectarian murals depicting political and historical scenes from both an Irish Nationalist and British Loyalist agenda (see below) and although my work has vastly different intentions, my imagery could be perceived as being closer to 1 side of that political divide. I think there was certainly a few raised eyebrows about an Irish lad painting a seemingly British subject matter but my work is less about Britain and more about the colonial West in general and filtered through a decadent historical lens. However, there is certainly a lot to be read into this painting and that’s up to the viewer to decide. For my part there are 2 people fighting, and another sitting down watching it all and doing nothing.