The theme of the all-women jam at ArtCetera (formerly the Red Barn Gallery) (@artceterastudio43) was ‘the veil wears thin’, suggestive of liminal states and places that samhain brings to mind (HMC). Kerrie Hanna’s (@kerriehanna) interpretation of the theme was to support the women (in Iran and elsewhere) who were cutting their hair as a form of protest at the death of Mahsa Amini while in the custordy of the “Guidance Patrol” or “Morality Police”, allegedly for wearing her hijab improperly (CNN | EuroNews | WP).
Here is a gallery of completed pieces produced for International Women’s Day 2023 in College Court. The new street art is part of a larger revitalisation project (Belfast City Council).
The works shown are (from Castle Street to College Street) by Claire Prouvost, Holly Pereira, Katriona, Kerri Hanna, Danni Simpson, Alana McDowell, ESTR; Laura Nelson, Novice Jess, Friz, (guest artist Hicks who was in town to repair and extend his piece in College Street Mews (see Cool) – it was damaged by a dumpster fire) and, on the other side of the street, HM Constance.
Here is a gallery of “in-progress” images of the street art being painted by female artists for International Women’s Day, all along College Court. We will have (most of) the completed pieces tomorrow – see We Built This.
Ulster Tower in Thiepval, France, provides a background for 13 jigsaw pieces with partial images relating to the Great War, including a uniform with a Victoria Cross and badge of the 36th (Ulster) Division, the 10th (Irish) Division, the 16th (Irish) Division, and the Royal Irish Fusiliers (and a fourteenth piece for information).
Kilgreel Road, Antrim. The mural is more than a decade old and is bleached from the sun (the pinks were formerly brown); on the former site of The People’s Army (a UVF board).
“This artwork, commemorating the sacrifices made during the Great War and subsequent conflicts, was produced by the young people of Parkhall Youth & Community Club and was completed in 2010. It is part of a larger Re-imaging project undertaken by Parkhall Cultural Awareness Association & Parkhall Community Association. 14 jigsaw pieces are representated as that was the age of the youngest soldier to die on the Somme. The Royal Irish Fusiliers, who recruited in the Antrim area, served with the 10th Irish Division and 36th Ulster Division during World War I. The cap badge is surrounded with poppies. The poppy is an international symbol commemorating the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians specifically since the Great War. Birds were used extensively during World War I delivering important logistic message from the front line. HMS Antrim served in the Great War and survived. After the war she became the first ship to be fitted with an experimental sonar system in 1920. Her bell can presently be viewed in Antrim Civic Centre. The grounds of Shane’s Castle in Antrim were used as a training ground and a campsite for the 36th Ulster Division prior to their deployment to France. Of all bell tents and parachutes during the Great War 90% were made from Irish Linen. During the Great War a service man’s basic wage was one shilling a day (5 pence). The sound of the bugle was heard throughout each day in the trenches, starting with Reveille to rouse you from slumber. ‘Flowers of the Forest’, a powerful Scottish lament, is often played by a lone piper at services of Remembrance. “I am not an Ulsterman but yesterday, the 1st July, as I followed their amazing attack, I felt that I would rather be an Ulsterman than anything else in the world.” Extract from the speech by Captain Wilfred [Wilfrid] Spencer 2st July 1916. Men from the 36th Ulster Division received 9 Victoria Crosses. Women played a vital role in field hospitals during the Great War caring for the injured, from the front line. The flags of the 16th and 10th Irish Divisions. 36th Ulster division. The Ulster Tower is a memorial to the men of the 36th Ulster Division. It is situated near the entrance to Thiepval Wood, France.
“The dead we honour here made the noble sacrifice for a cause that should never be forgotten.” A new board has been added to the memorial to the Ulster Volunteers on the Newtownards Road at St Leonard’s Crescent (the old Newcastle Street) over the bricked-up windows of the Belvoir Bar (see previously Not For Sale). The annual parade of the Belvoir Somme Association took place at the end of September (youtube)
A plaque was mounted this (2022) summer to Maggie McAnaney, who died when a gun went off at an IRA checkpoint near Burnfoot, Co. Donegal, a month before the Civil War began (Derry Journal). This is an unusual use of the phrase “active service”, as McAnaney was travelling to a picnic at the time, rather than on exercises or preparing munitions; the phrase would later come to be associated primarily with a premature bomb explosion.
“In proud and loving memory of Margaret “Maggie” McAnaney, Cumann na mBan, died on active service at Burnfoot on 31st May 1922, aged 18 years. The McAnaney family home was situated on Bishop Street. Fuair siad bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann.”
Three months after it was initially whitewashed (mid June, 2022), the repaint of so-called “Freedom Corner” is now complete, with a new mural on each of the 11 panels that make it up. Today’s post is a gallery of fifteen images from the new wall. The main gables reproduce photographs of the UDA (and more specifically the East Belfast brigade) during the 1970s. The side walls celebrate the formation of the UDA/LPA/UFF/UYM in 1971-1974 and the role of women in supporting prisoners.
The 1918 ‘Representation Of The People’ act gave 8.4 million women in the United Kingdom the right to vote (WP). (For the two women on the left holding the ‘Votes For Women’ sign, see Women’s Hall And Cost-Price Restaurant.) In that same year, Countess Constance Markievicz was the first woman elected to Westminster and became Sinn Féin Minister For Labour in the first Dáil Éireann that was established as an alternative. Ten years earlier, she had co-founded Na Fianna Éireann with Bulmer Hobson. The names of Derry fianna are listed on the right. “Fuair siad bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann.” (This board replaces the former Fianna mural that celebrated the centenary in 2009.)
To the left is a “Join RSYM” stencil with the names of the ten deceased 1981 hunger strikers; to the right is a picture of the memorial across the street to the dead of the 3rd battalion of the Doire Brigade Óglaigh na hÉireann.
“But while Ireland is not free I remain a rebel, unconverted and unconvertible. There is no word strong enough for it. I am pledged as a rebel to the one thing – a free and independent republic.”
“Ach a fhad is nach bhfuil Éire saor, seasfaidh mé an fód mar cheannairceach, gan géilleadh, gan athrú. Níl focal dá bhfuil atá chumhachtach go leor. Tá gealltanas tugtha agam mar cheannairceach, cuspóir amháin a chur i gcrích – poblacht shaor agus neamhspleach.”
For many years there were portraits of the hunger strikers (either the 10 deceased from 1981 or the 12 from the 70s and 80s) along the long wall in Bishop St Without – see 2009, 2004, and 1998 (before that time the wall was divided into a number of panels for a variety of republican imagery – see 1984 and 1982) but in the portraits – which were on boards – soon started coming off and over the next decade the wall began to fade and become covered in graffiti (as can be seen in Street View). For the 40th anniversary, the deceased hunger strikers were restored to the wall, as shown in today’s post: “40th anniversary of the 1980-1981 hunger strikes. Rededication of mural, by the Bogside and Brandywell Monument Committee.”