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World’s largest collection of famine-art opens in Derry’s creative quarter

17 January 2019

Today [17th January 2019], Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger, the acclaimed famine-related art exhibition, will officially launch at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin in Derry. The launch will be attended by Mayor of Derry City and Strabane, District Cllr. John Boyle and MP for Foyle, Elisha McCallion.

The exhibition, currently on loan from Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in the US, will open to the public tomorrow, 18th January at An tSeaneaglais, Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin and will run until 16th March 2019. 

The collection features over 50 artworks by eminent Irish artists, including: Jack B. Yeats, Dorothy Cross, Paul Henry, William Crozier, John Behan, Brian Maguire, Rowan Gillespie, Micheal Farrell, Hughie O’Donoghue and Alanna O’Kelly. 

‘It was always Quinnipiac University’s ambition to make this an all island exhibition. We hand-selected Cultúrlann due to its commitment to culture and the arts and its ambition to become Derry’s new Creative Quarter', said Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum Ryan Mahoney.

'The Great Hunger is an event that affected all of Ireland. In 1847, over 12,000 emigrants left the port here in Derry. It was important to the University to acknowledge the impact the Great Hunger had locally, and to provide Derry and the wider region with an opportunity to experience this unique collection’, he added.

Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger has been touring Ireland for twelve months and has been viewed by over 90,000 people at Dublin Castle and at the West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen. This will be the only opportunity to view the art in Northern Ireland and the last time to see it in Ireland before it returns to the US in March.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of cultural, educational and musical events including performances by musicians such as Declan O’Rourke, Mick Moloney and Micheal Rooney, Living Art Tours of the exhibition, Famine Lectures by acclaimed historians such as Professor Christine Kinealy, Director of Ireland's Great Hunger Institute and a Mural Art Trail, created by Derry based arts centre UV Arts. 

Programme available here. 

Speaker quotes:

Director Eibhlín Ní Dhochartaigh welcomed people to the Cultúrlann, saying 'This will be a unique opportunity for the people of Derry to familiarise themselves with a story that is so intrinsic to our culture and identity. We’re encouraging everyone to visit us this January and to view this exhibition as a homecoming, because the famine story is part of our heritage, and the art will provide a deeper connection to and understanding of this story’.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Cllr. John Boyle opened the event, saying, ‘Hosting the exhibition is a huge coup for the city and North-West region and a fantastic opportunity to highlight the shared story of the famine and emigration and the important role the city played in emigration. We’re delighted Derry is hosting this exhibition and believe it will put the city on the international stage to showcase its culture, heritage and community and that it will allow people who visit our city to better understand our shared famine story’.

‘Derry City and Strabane District Council in partnership with Donegal County Council is delighted to support the exhibition with financial assistance through the North-West Fund and the Mayor’s Office and project support through the Council’s Heritage and Museums Service’, he finished.


Admission to the Coming Home exhibition is FREE
Exhibition opening times are available on the website: culturlann.org
Living Art Tours may be reserved for schools and other groups through the website
Email: [email protected]

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