Fellow blogger Megan already hit on this topic, but I have some of my own input for the Bogside Artist. I was so excited to hear that The River’s Institute invited international artists to campus, and even more excited to hear they were from Ireland… in case my red hair and fiery personality didn’t give it away, almost every branch on my family tree leads back to Ireland. I attended a lecture that Will, Tom, and Kevin (the artists) gave last week that gave us an overview of the murals they painted in the city of Derry, Ireland. It was fascinating to learn about “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland from the people who had been through them personally.
I was struck by how openly and honestly they portrayed the subjects in their paintings, but also of the same quality they had in sharing the stories that were behind each image with us. I bought one of their books just to educate myself more on their work.
The most amazing part of their weeklong visit was that they actually spent their time working with students to create a mural for Hanover. I went to mural dedication ceremony yesterday in Duggan Library, and was floored to see the result. The mural is on the subject of freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
The subject is fresh on their mind from an experience that occurred six weeks ago during a trip the artists took to China where they helped challenge the censorship of a local artist they met there. This mural will be the first in a series on free speech.
Kudos to The River’s Institute for bringing these fascinating artists to campus! I chatted with them at The Shoebox on Tuesday, and they are some of the funniest and accessible visitors we have had on campus. They were sad to go and we are sad to let them go! Check out the River’s Institute facebook page for more info and pictures.