R-M222: Contemporary Artists of the Donegal Diaspora

July 8 – Sept 21

The Contemporary Artists of the Donegal Diaspora exhibition is a major group show that brings together a number of leading Irish and international contemporary artists of the first, second, third and fourth generation Donegal Diaspora. It features artworks in different media – painting, photography, sculpture and film – by six highly acclaimed artists. The very high profile line up includes Turner Prize winner Susan Philipz, Turner nominees Liam Gillick and George Shaw together with renowned locally born artists Frances Hegarty, Vivienne Dick and Padraig Timoney. The exhibition features new specially commissioned pieces that have never been exhibited before, together with existing work by each artist. It is a great opportunity for local audiences to experience work by leading contemporary artists on our own doorstep.

The six artists have family connections with Donegal ranging from being first generation Donegal born to having a Donegal Great Grandmother. Three of them were born in the Donegal or Derry. Vivienne Dick was born in Donegal and now lives in Galway having spent years in New York and London. Frances Hegarty was born in Teelin, later emigrated to Scotland and now lives between England and Donegal. Padraig Timoney, who was born in Derry and currently lives in New York, is second-generation Donegal, his mother is from Gweedore and he still regularly visits the family home place there. The other three artists in the exhibition have Donegal connections but are born in England or Scotland. Susan Philipz, who was born in Glasgow and lives in Berlin, has a grandfather from Buncrana.  George Shaw was born in Coventry but his mother is from in Letterkenny. Liam Gillick is the one with the most distant connection. He was born in Aylesbury in England, currently lives in New York and has a Great Grandmother from Donegal.

The exhibition is part of the Earagail Arts Festival visual arts programme on the theme of the Donegal Diaspora that has been arranged to tie in with the Gathering. The title of the project R-M222 refers to the Y-chromosome associated with people whose roots lie in the counties of Northwest Ireland, Ulster and Lowland Scotland.

The exhibition is organised in partnership with the Donegal County Council Public Art Programme and is curated by Declan Sheehan as part of the Arts Council Visual Arts Curator Residency 2013. It is one of a number of exhibitions at the Regional Cultural Centre and across County Donegal. Other exhibitions at the RCC include Rachael Flynn, Local People and a Family Hands-On Drop-In Art Room. Exhibitions in other places include, The Road Taken – Derek Hill’s Donegal Legacy at the Glebe Gallery Churchill, Tim Johnson at An Grianán Theatre Letterkenny and two exhibitions about 19th Century Derry photographer James Glass at Donegal County Museum Letterkenny and An Gailearaí, Gaoth Dobhair.




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