The forthcoming referendum on Marriage Equality will give the people of Ireland the opportunity to end discrimination against gays and lesbians who wish to marry.
In a pluralist, fair and modern society, legal unions between consenting adults should be protected by law equally, regardless of gender. Voters will be asked to amend Article 41 of the Constitution and approve the thirty-fourth amendment contained in the Marriage Equality Act 2015. The wording of the amendment will be: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinctions to their sex.”
Being an artist and an activist I want to use my best skills to further the rights of minorities and bring about a better, brighter society for everyone to live in. Recently I’ve approached a number of business owners in Dublin with the prospect of allowing street artists in favour of Marriage Equality to paint murals on their sites. The feedback has been very positive and I would like to spread this idea nationwide. As it’s difficult to project manage each site I’m looking for artists and businesses to work together.
10 artists took part in Walls of Equality, their work brighten up the city’s walls, it reinforced a positive message and acted as a counter weight to negative campaign messages coming from the Anti Equality groups.
Artsists: ADW, Sums, Rask,Niall O’Lochlainn, Morgan, Jess Tobin, Emma Blake, John O’Connor, Will St Leger
Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on a street art project for Kenco coffee. It’s based on Kenco’s new ad campaign Coffee vs Gangs – Kenco buy their coffee beans from farmers in Honduras, but this beauiful South America country is murder capital of the world. With crime rates roaring due to gang violence, Kenco decided to get actively involved in trying to create another way for young people that are exposed to this on a daily basis.
Kenco are are taking 20 young people from diffeent backgrounds and bringing them into the coutryside to grow coffee, investing in them and giving them a new direction in life. I find this a brave move for a industry that has generally produced adverts that talk about the product’s ‘richness and smoothness’ but rarely focus on the poverty and roughness that the producers country experiences.
When I first saw the advert I was stuck by the contrast of imagery between the gang life and the warmth of the countryside, this became the basis for the street art pieces I painted in Dublinin early October this year. In my mural there’s a contrast between the dark soil, decay and death that refelects the gang life and what is above the ground, which is a colourful coffee plant with rich colours and sunshine. We live in a world where buzz words like ‘Corporate Responsibilty’ are banded around without knowing what that means, but Kenco are doing something very different, they are getting involved, rolling their sleeves up and making a measureable difference. Follow the journey for these young people in Honduras by visiting www.coffeevsgang.com
I’ve never liked January. Even though I celebrate my birthday at the end of the month, January is the time of the year when reality comes crashing down after the festive season and everything seems a bit gloomy.
Which is why the folks behind First Fornight have been doing amazing work over the past few years to highlight mental health in Irish society through a dedicated arts Festival. This year I was invited to produced a street art piece for the festival which runs from Jan 2 – 12. The piece I made was about Facebook and our relationship with our ‘friends’ on social media.
In the early days of the internet we talked about how Web 2.0 was creating a ‘Global Village’. For most people access to information on the world wide web has dramatically changed how we interact. In the past decade I’ve seen the effects of overreliance on social media, I think maybe it’s turning us into, ‘Like’ zombies, ‘Retweet’ robots. More and more the need for cyber vailidation has pushed meaningiful dialogue into the background.
Among the clutered status upates, images of cute kittens and exclaimtions that there are, “x amount of sleeps till…” a single status by someone calling out for help can be lost. Even if seen, do we ‘like’ it and move on without checking in with them?
My piece is about a breakdown of Facebook. The ‘wall’ is broken and refusing to by tied to the generic status update, I’ve written by hand the lyric, “I am human and I need to be loved” taken from How Soon Is Now by The Smiths.
On Wednesday morning I installed a pink spray painted female torso on an empty plinth outside Dublin City Hall. Why? Because when I walk around the streets of Dublin I see dozens of statues, memorials and plaques dedicated to the memory of men but very few of great Irish women.
Lets break down the figures:
Of the 54 statues and monuments listed on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statues_in_Dublin (not an exhaustive list by the way) only a handful are women and even at that, two of the most prominent statues are fictional characters, Molly Malone – Grafton Street and Anna Livia (formerly on O’Connell Street). That leaves us with Constance Markievicz – Statue in Tara Street (Bust in St Stephen’s Green), “Two Women” – Lower Liffey Street, Lady Laura Grattan Font – St Stephen’s Green North, An Cailín Bán – Sandymount Strand and Queen Victoria Fountain – Dún Laoghaire (That’s right, a bust of a British Monarch)
Now let’s look at Plaques:
According to Open Plaques (a project to collect & open up data about plaques and people they commemorate) 64 Dublin plaques are dedicated to men, 5 are to (named) women.
Finally, let’s look at Dublin’s bridges:
As my fellow blogger, Panti has pointed out; “Currently there are seventeen bridges between the East Link and Heuston, and all seventeen are named after men. Not one of them is named after a woman”
Also, I have another question, of all the sculptors and designers of these memorials how many were female artists?
Last week I make a fun street art installation for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. They had launched their new range called ‘the core’ and asked me to come up with something that people notice on the street. Watch the video and see the process and results.
It’s not the first time I’ve taken a street art swipe at Bertie Ahern, back in April 2008 I filled Molly Malone’s statue with ‘Bertie Bills‘ on the eve his his resignation as taoiseach. I felt then, what the majority of people feel now; cheated, hood-winked and angry that the person at the highest level of office in this country can lie about secret payments for planning favours. This country needs to be purged of Cronies like Ahern, Fylnn and Co. otherwise we as a nation will never be trusted by foreign investors and by the international community.
‘One Day I Will Grow Wings’ is a new stenciled paste-up that I created for Dublin Contemporary ‘Road Works’ project. Borrowing it’s name for Radiohead’s song Let Down I’ve wanted to produce a street art piece about homelessness for some time.
Lots of artists are involved in a city wide project including Mark Jenkins, D*Face, Maser, Morgan, DMC, Prefab.
Follow the project live here anewspacelivestreets.tumblr.com
I recently finished my biggest street piece to date. It’s a large, blank grey wall at the end of South George’s Street, Dublin. I was thrilled when the Mercantile asked me to design a mural on their venue’s gable end that would included the venue’s name.
I wanted something bold but fun. I decided to recreate the Mercantile’s name in an old style sign writing, but also include the sign-writer himself in a precarious situation. At 16, I was an apprentice for a talented sign- writer called Eamonn Power in my home town of Clonmel. So the ‘hanging painter’ is a homage to him.
Here’s an interview I did with Christopher Goodfellow for Totally Dublin which explains the piece more. Amazing photos too by Ian Keegan