Grainne Ní Mháille / Grace O’Malley.
Irish Chieftain, Mariner, Rebel, Warrior, Pirate Queen… A true story.
In the past few days painting in Westport, county Mayo. I was commissioned by Westport Arts Festival to paint a mural in the town centre.
I wanted to create a piece about a Grainne Ní Mháille / Grace O’Malley.. I had been reading a book about her life by Anne Chambers and was amazed that the life story hadn’t already become a blockbuster movie.
Gráinne Mhaol is a legendary Irish pirate that lived in Ireland in the 16th century. She sailed from island to island along the west coast with her fleet of ships. She raided as she went, building up a great hoard of wealth and earning her title as the Pirate Queen.
She was also one of the last Irish leaders to defend against English rule in Ireland. Gráinne was born into the Ó Máille family (O’Malley) in 1530. They were a noble, seafaring family that lived in Co. Mayo and her father was chieftain of his clan. She is known by different names e.g. Grace O’Malley, Granuaile. Her real name is Gráinne Ní Mháille but she is better known by her nickname, Gráinne Mhaol.
As the legend goes, Gráinne wanted to go on a trading voyage with her father to Spain. She was told she could not go because her beautiful long hair would catch in the ropes. This made her very angry, so she decided to cut off all her hair! Her father had no more excuses, so he had to let her on board. This is how she got her nickname ‘Gráinne Mhaol’; in Irish, maol means ‘bald’!
Feel free to download and share alike. Creative Commons license 4.0
The Copper House gallery will be hosting an event in aid of the Abortion Support Network on 11th Oct, organised by Aifric Ní Chríodáin. I’ve donated this piece of work to the show. All proceeds go to Abortion Support Services for Irish women that need assistance accessing abortion services in the UK .
I still have some signed A3 prints available for €20 each (€5 p+P)
order at my shop http://willstleger.bigcartel.com/products
Over the past few years I’ve celebrated April’s Fools Day by doing a street art prank. This year I want to do something different, so on the 1st of April 2016, I will be hiding 12 works of my art around Dublin city. Every hour I will reveal the location of each piece via a Snapchat story.
Your task is to find them before my other followers do, simply follow me on Snapchat before the 1st of April and check my Snapchat stories each hour from 8am till 8pm on Fools Day.
If you’re quick enough to find a piece of work, take a snapchat story of your prize (tag me in it @willsaint.)
From 8am today I placed my artwork work around various parts of Dublin. It was great fun and wonderful to get tweets from some of the happy hunters that found them. Thank you everyone that got involved!
This morning I installed a fake unexploded missle on South King Street, Dublin for GOAL global charity.
The unexploded missile has been constructed, using various salvaged materials. It was be placed in a ‘hole’ on the pavement, created using sand and pre-smashed paving stones. Special effects will be created by coal dust for blast scorch and smoke, along with a number of other elements. The charity wanted to highlight the ongoing suffering of innocent civilians in Syria, as the latest round of peace talks on the Syria crisis begin in Geneva tomorrow.
I was commissioned by GOAL to build the structure to mark the fact that rockets and missiles continue to land in civilian areas in Syria every day, killing innocent men, women and children in the process
GOAL CEO Barry Andrews attended the event with GOAL Syrian staff member, Alia Alsoud. Alia left Syria at the start of the war but still has family living in the country. She also lost family members in the violence, while other have been trapped in sieges.
‘Collins Rising’ My new, limited edition screen print will be launched Thursday 10th March at Damn Fine Print – 31 signed and numbered prints only.
I’ve teamed up with Damn Fine Print to produce an exclusive limited edition Screenprint of #CollinsRising // launch part Thursday 10th March at their studio in 32 North Brunswick Street Stoneybatter Dublin. To buy this limited edition print click here
Origins to ‘Duty Free State’ (Collins Rising)
For God’s sake, give me one free night to be a human being!” – exclaimed Michael Collins to his fellow rebels in the self titled,1996 film by Neil Jordan. These words became the starting point for my original Collins stencil entitled, ‘Duty Free State’ ten years ago.
From his early twenties, Michael Collins was involved in the struggle for Irish independence. From fighting in the Easter Rising to the negotiations table at 10 Downing street 6 years later, Collins dedicated his life to the dream of an Irish Republic.
While much has been written about his achievements, I often wondered about what this young Corkonian had to sacrifice to achieve these goals. Ask any committed activist and they will tell you that their cause often comes a personal price. Committed volunteers like Collins never got leisure time, bonuses, holidays or luxury goods. They dedicated their waking hours to defeating their oppressors so others could be set free.
Our little republic is not perfect, but we are not under the dominion of unelected monarchs, we have a constitution and we are free to utilize the tools of democracy, freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly. Liberty should never be considered a luxury, it is a fundamental human right.
If Michael had more time after the Civil war, he might have travelled the world, he might have got married to his sweetheart, raised a family. We might have spotted him striding down the street, shopping bags in hand after buying something nice for himself or his girlfriend. My screen print, ‘Duty Free State’ is an aspirational piece of work about a man who missed so much because he cared too much.
Because of men and women like Collins, I enjoy the freedom to satirize icons like Michael without fear of restriction or the threat of imprisonment and for that I’m grateful.
Michael Collins you deserve one free night off.