The launch and opening of Lines of Vision at the National Gallery of Ireland went great last night - there were lots and lots of people there, and the prosecco and wine were flowing. It was all very civilised and glamorous. I love posh events, I must say. There was a private reception for the writers, before the opening, in 5 Leinster Street, a beautiful section of the gallery that overlooks the inner atrium. It was great to meet and chat with writers I know like Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Dónal Ryan and Eoin MacNamee. Also there were literary stars (and brilliant people) Jennifer Johnston, Evelyn Conlon, Enda Wyley, Peter Sirr, Paula Meehan and Theo Dorgan, among many others.
I was delighted to meet up again with some of my fellow Italo-Irish Literature Exchange crew, namely Seán Hardie, Bill Wall and his wife Liz. Seán's wife is the poet Kerry Hardie and she has a beautiful war poem in the book inspired by Pierre Bonnard's Le Déjeuner, in which Marthe de Méligny speaks. (Marthe was Bonnard's wife.) Many of the images are in copyright so I can't reproduce them here but you can look at the Bonnard here and, my choice, Jack B. Yeats's Men of Destiny here.
|John Lavery - Return from Market|
William (Bill) Wall used Seán Keating's famous An Allegory as a stepping off point for an intriguing political prose poem.
|Curator/editor Janet McLean, President Higgins, Sabina Higgins and gallery Director, Seán Rainbird|
President Michael D. Higgins opened the exhibition (with a suitably mellifluous speech about the importance of cruthaíocht/creativity in our lives). We were allowed into the exhibition before the President joined us with his wife Sabina. It was fantastic to see the paintings from the book all exhibited together - very moving somehow.
My painting (my painting!) is the first one you see as you come in the door, which is sort of nice. We weren't allowed photograph it, but here's the nameplate:
The exhibition of Lines of Vision runs until April 2015. There are dozens of events on around the exhibition and book: readings, talks, plays. I am taking part in a study morning on Jack B. Yeats on the 15th November and I will also be leading a writing workshop next March for over 55s.
And, of course, the gorgeous book, produced by Thames and Hudson, is available nationwide and online. It costs €25 and would make a fab gift. If you can't afford the book, do go to the exhibition - it's beautiful and it's free!