Breda Smyth, Sabina Higgins, John Behan RHA and President Michael D Higgins
An exhibition of bronze sculptures by John Behan RHA was opened by President Michael D Higgins and Sabina Higgins Saturday last.
This exhibition of bronzes is a reflection on the sculptor’s output over the last 50 years and in his 81st year, it reflects on the themes of displacement of people and emigration that have concerned John throughout his life as a sculptor.
The exhibition will continue until June 14 Wednesday to Saturday 11am to 4pm. John Behan is a painter and sculptor and a figure of great significance in Irish art and firmly established as a sculptor of international stature.
John has been working on Refugee and Migrant themes for many years, the significant bronze “Arrival” the Famine Ship stands seven metres tall outside the UN headquarters in New York. John’s immediate concerns are about the relationships between the Irish Famine of 1845-1852 and the parallel crisis of Syria and north Africa of today.
John travelled to Greece to volunteer with Project Elea in the Eleonas refugee camp in Athens. Subsequently delivering an art workshop with teenage refugees.
The exhibition will include John’s iconic bronzes of the bull as a phenomena in Irish society and recent bronzes made in response to his visit to the Refugee Camp in Greece and Famine ships and oar boats which have their origin in the ‘Broighter Boat of Derry (1896)’. The ships and boats symbolizing the journey of life which we all share.
Mr Behan said: “This present exhibition is a reflection and summary of my recent output as a sculptor. The exhibition reflects on the themes that have concerned me throughout my life as a sculptor, that is, my interest in the bull as a phenomena in society along with famine ships and oar boats. The oar boats having their origin in the ‘roighter Boat of Derry’ The ships and boats symbolize the journey of life which we all share. I hope that my artistic concerns communicate with the public and with art lovers everywhere”
John Behan’s works are in public collections across Ireland which include the Hugh Lane Gallery, the National Gallery of Ireland, the Arts Council, the Crawford Art Gallery and Trinity College Dublin and are represented in many private collections including that of Mary McAleese, Mary Robinson, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Bill and Hillary Clinton and in the private collections of writers Tom Kilroy, Tom Murphy, Seamus Heaney, Edna O’Brien, Gerry Dawe, and Brian Friel.
Images of all the bronze sculptures and further information about the exhibition can be found at: www.kilcockartgallery.ie