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the bogside artists

The Bogside Artists are a group of three artists from an area of Derry City, Northern Ireland, known as the Bogside. It was in this area that fourteen people were shot dead by the British army on 30 January 1972. The artists commemorated the event in a large mural situated on the site. This mural is called simply 'Bloody Sunday'. Situated not far from it are two more murals, one depicts a child in a gasmask holding a petrol bomb. It was named by the artists, 'The Battle Of The Bogside', to commemorate the event in October 1969 when the Catholic Bogsiders confronted the RUC, and their auxiliary force the B-Specials, in a pitched battle. This mural is world-famous and is referred to locally as 'the petrol bomber'. The mural beside it commemorates the part played by Bernadette Devlin in this historic battle. Just recently the Bogside Artists completed a second mural about 'Bloody Sunday'.

Almost in honour of their endeavors in the dangerous and demanding field of commemorative art the artists were christened by locals as "The Bogside Artists", a title which they have been proud to wear till this day.

William Kelly studied art in Belfast Art College in 1970 and went on to take an honors degree in painting at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 1977. He had fourteen one-man shows throughout Ireland and published many articles on art. William died in January 2017.

Tom Kelly is not only one of the triumvirate but is a committed Christian who leads a Celtic Christian community in the heart of the Bogside where the mentally and spiritually scarred can come for the sort of assurance and benediction that medicine cannot help, still less cure. He has been painting murals since long before 1969 seeing in art a means by which Protestants and Catholics can come together. He is well known for his cross-community work and has pioneered the use of art to assuage religious conflict long before it's efficacy in this respect was fully recognized by the cultural elite of Northern Ireland.

Kevin Hasson has travelled widely throughout the world. He is married to an American, and lived in Frankfurt for twelve years. He painted many murals across Germany. Kevin comes from a family talented in both the pictorial arts and in music. His experiences at a young age in Calcutta, India as a member of The International Voluntary Service awakened his mind to the ubiquity of social injustice and its roots.

These three artists are dedicated to using painting as a means to objectify the past so that its unconscious hold is unravelled. This explains both the style and historic content of their output. Their work is commemorative and in being so it is also curative.

CAIN Web Service
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