Fear and hope of Irish emigrantsAugust 16, 2012 - 5:27pm
AN exhibition of new paintings by Longford artist Bernard Canavan will be opened at the city’s Kenny Gallery, Liosbán, Tuam
Road, today, August 17, at 6.00pm. The guest speaker at the opening of the new show, Exile World will be Professor Gearóid Ó
Tuathaigh, NUI, Galway.
Like many Irish people of his generation Bernard Canavan emigrated to London in the 1960s and that experience is reflected in his art. His paintings are figurative and are about Irish and emigrant life – in particular the make-do life of Irish people in the UK during the 1950s and 1960s.
This exhibition, which could be described as social realism, records the change they felt moving from rural Ireland, where everyone knew their neighbours, to a big anonymous atomised city where people were unknown and anonymous.
He depicts the pain of leaving home, the indignity of the boat train, the apprehension of the new arrivals, the harshness of the building sites, the limited horizons, the crowded pubs where men went ‘home’ to drink their dinner, and how big men were worn down by this life
This was a different world where men did not always look after themselves, a world of ‘subbies’, piece-work, being ‘on the lump’, of tunnels and motorways, of smokey dancehalls, of isolation and sometimes of heroic lives.
Exile World will run at the Kenny Gallery until September