Famine Series: Blighted Lives (2012 – 2017)

These paintings focus on the Great Irish Famine 1845 – 1852 when, out of a population of eight million people, one million perished and at least 1.25 million fled the country. The remains of their homes and their plots of land with potato ridges are still visible in the landscape of the west of Ireland which was so badly affected. The paintings remember those who suffered and are a means of highlighting links to poverty and migration across the world today. The human figure is a strong presence in many images – on the move due to hunger or eviction and seeking food or shelter – scattering forever across the globe – buried and forgotten in the landscape.

Some of these paintings were included in my solo exhibition Picture Inequality: Challenge to Indifference in 2013 at The Customs House Studios and Gallery in Westport Co Mayo. Others were selected for group shows such as the RHA Annual Exhibition 2018, Mayo Day 2017, Lonely Planet at Luan Gallery (2015), Mayo God Help Us at Claremorris Gallery (2015), Claremorris Open Exhibition (2014), and RDS Student Art Awards (2013).

©Jo Killalea