The Great Migration 2 (Ulster leg) has been selected for exhibition at this year’s Royal Ulster Academy’s annual Open Exhibition. Founded in 1879, the Royal Ulster Academy is the largest and longest established body of practicing visual artists in Northern Ireland.
The Great Migration (Ulster leg) is part of a series that pays tribute to the journey my parents made while emigrating to England from Donegal, Ireland back in the late 1960s to find work and build a future. This at a time when being Irish, Afro Caribbean or a person of colour wasn’t particularly embraced despite the major contribution these communities of immigrants were making towards the infrastructure of this country with building, road construction and the NHS to name a few.
This is an abstracted take on the topography of Ulster rendered into 18 planes. The larger more dominant refers to the Glenshane Pass – a long, slow climb of a hill that we never entirely knew we would clear with an aging car full of luggage when retracing their original journey on summer holidays back to see the extended family.
This work can operate on personal level with reference to my family history but also is meant as a tribute to all those immigrants who ventured out into the unknown, often met with regular adversity when all they were trying to do was get on in life.