The People’s Gallery is a collection of murals painted by the Bogside Artists – brothers Tom and William Kelly (d. 2017) and Kevin Hasson.
The Gallery was launched in 2006, gathering together the 11 murals that had been painted between 1994 and 2006, with a twelfth mural being added in 2008. The Hunger Strike (Raymond McCartney) mural was replaced in 2016 and various murals have been repainted over the years, as described below.
The word “people” in the name “The People’s Gallery” reflects the desire of the artists to reflect the experience of their fellow Bogsiders and to declare that the murals, despite their current status as a major tourist attraction receiving some support from the city, are authentic creations of the community. On the other hand, the word “gallery” in the name “The People’s Gallery” reflects the fact that the artists consider the pieces to be art, which seems to mean that they do not want the works to be propaganda for physical-force republicanism. Many of the murals are in black and white or subdued colours; Raymond McCartney from the 1980 hunger strike was depicted rather than any of the deceased 1981 hunger strikers; from Derry the dove of peace is the last mural as you walk from left to right; and the new (2016) ‘mothers of the hunger strikers’ mural shows a girl pointing to the Peace mural. (Similarly, they are happy to have their name (The Bogside Artists) and three individual names associated with the murals, as professional artists do; most murals are unsigned and even when the artist is known or obvious, the artists retires into the background and the mural is adopted by its community.)
The People’s Gallery is in Derry’s “Bogside” area, so named because the land where the old city was built was originally an island in the river Foyle. Over time, the river on the western side dried up and became a bog (Ordnance Survey 1908). In 1832, although the area had been developed significantly, there were still boggy areas, such as the ‘cow bog’ in this map (from Bill McAfee/PRONI).
The murals are spread out along (part of) the course of a former river, Mary Blue’s Burn, (roughly) along what are now Rossville Street and Lecky Road. In the 2006 image below (click to enlarge), taken from the western wall of the old Derry city, the Peace mural can be seen on the right while the (repainted) Death Of Innocence mural can be seen on the left. Five others are visible between these. The left-most mural is in fact Bloody Sunday Commemoration, which is on Westland Street just out of frame to the left. Free Derry Corner is visible left of centre. (M02854)
Murals (by order of creation)
1. The Petrol Bomber (1994)
(M01115 Post includes two in-progress shots)
Modified with a “No RUC” badge (1995).
2. Bernadette (1996)
Repainted in late 2006 into 2007 – see M03414.
Repainted in 2015, with Bernadette in red.
3. Bloody Sunday (1997)
4. Bloody Sunday Commemoration (1997)
The oak leaves were given stripes down the middle.
Later repainted with two-tone oak leaves, an inner red circle, and a cross in the centre (in 2005/2006)
Repainted in 2010s (2015?) with purple background.
Repainted in 2006 – the rifle on the left is broken and the butterfly and buildings have more detail.
6. Hunger Strike (Raymond McCartney) (2000)
(See item #13 below for the new mural on this wall.)
7. Operation Motorman (2001)
Later (2013?) repainted with plaque + Seamus Bradley exhibition
8. The Rioter (commonly known as The Saturday Matinee) (2001)
9. Civil Rights (2004)
Restored by 2007
Repainted in 2015.
10. Peace Mural (2004)
Cross added in 2015/2016
11. The Runner (2006)
Repainted (in 2016?)
The People’s Gallery 1994-2006
The murals were gathered together under the name The People’s Gallery and a sign appeared on the northern gable of Kells Walk announcing the gallery. (The sign would later be moved across the street.)
12. Tribute To John Hume (2008)
13. Peggy O’Hara & Margaret Devine (2016)