A Global Artist’s Irish Roots

Sidney Nolan, left, and a painting from his Ned Kelly series.

By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
June / July 2017

A centenary symposium was held at London’s Royal Academy of Arts in April to honor artist Sir Sidney Nolan (right), an Australian with Irish roots who called himself a “citizen of the planet.” An avid traveler, Nolan spent time in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Antarctica. His refusal to be geographically tied down became the calling- card of his creative endeavors.

The one-day symposium explored critical themes in contemporary art, drawing on Nolan’s work and influence across countries and continents to examine what it truly means to be a global artist and included an exclusive tour of the exhibition Unseen: Works from the Sidney Nolan Trust Collection at Australia House, London.

Nolan’s characteristic internationality is apparent in the worldwide presence of his work, which appears in collections at the National Gallery, Tate, MOMA, Pittsburgh Museum of Art, and Irish Museum of Modern Art, among others.

Nolan traced his ancestral roots to a small village near the Burren, County Clare in the 1870s. In 1991, he dedicated a series of paintings to the Irish people, including one of the Wild Geese, the young Irishmen who brought the army of William of Orange to a standstill and sailed to France to join the Catholic James Stuart. These men were the first figures in a sustained diaspora that installed an Irish presence in the armies of other nations. This theme recurs in Nolan’s Ned Kelly series (above), which depicted Irish bandits on the run from English soldiers across the Australian bush.

Leave a Reply




Share



More Articles

Irish Art Sells For
Highest Total Ever

In Sotheby’s in London, on November 21, a sale of Irish art from the collection of Brian P. Burns – one of the most...

More

Silent Testimony

Hear my Voice, a cinematic tribute to those who suffered loss as a result of the Northern Irish conflict known as The...

More

Paschal Donohue, Minister, Department of Finance, Ireland.
The Irish Budget Includes Measures for Brexit and
Mental Health

In his second budget as Minister of Finance Pascal Donohue in the Dail on October 9, spending plans totaling €66.5bn...

More

Members of the Garda Siochana, the police force of Ireland.
Firearms Seized by Garda

A number of firearms, namely three GLOCK handguns, have been intercepted and seized in postal packages destined for...

More