RITA DUFFY: Persistent Illusion

Saturday 10 June - Sunday 8 October 2023
Gibson Galleries

For her first solo exhibition at Crawford Art Gallery, artist Rita Duffy presents a trilogy of new, largescale works that address urgent themes of planetary crisis and political chaos. This triptych for our times has its genesis in Duffy’s intense series of small, satirical drawings, The Emperor has No Clothes (2020), which was recently acquired by Crawford Art Gallery for the National Collection.

Rita Duffy (b.1959) is one of the major contemporary artists to emerge from Northern Ireland. Encompassing themes and images of Irish identity, history, and politics, her work is often both personal and autobiographical. In her work, she also pays homage to the language of magic realism. A member of Aosdána, Duffy has previously been Artist-in-Residence at Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Institute (Trinity College Dublin) and held a Leverhulme Fellowship with the Transitional Justice Institute (Ulster University) to look at the role that visual art has in post-conflict societies.

Exhibition supported by an IMMA Production Residency.

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28 October 2023 – 28 February 2024
Gibson Galleries

This exhibition presents a salon-style hang of Crawford Art Gallery’s portrait collection in the heart of its historic building.

Each of the selected portraits meets the viewer’s gaze and returns it from the past. By turns unnerving and overwhelming, the exhibition asks what it is to encounter the scrutiny of the great luminaries, the forgotten, and the unknown? Do they still hold power? And do we meet ourselves?

Featured artworks include Victoria Russell’s Portrait of Fiona Shaw (2002), Murdo MacLeod’s Portrait of Roy Keane (2002), Sasha Kropotkin (c.1912) by Gerald Festus Kelly, and Thomas Pope-Stevens’ Portrait of Cooper Penrose (c.1765).


2 December 2023 – 18 February 2024
Long Room

Enter the inimitable imagination of Harry Clarke in this annual exhibition and encounter the celebrated artist’s remarkable book illustrations, delicate watercolour studies, and earliest works in stained glass.

Created in 1923, Clarke’s studies for The Eve of St Agnes window were inspired by a long Romantic poem by John Keats, while his lavish illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery & Imagination look to a darker experience.

Purchased from the artist in 1924, these twenty-six national treasures in ink, watercolour, and stained glass range from the macabre to the amorous to the spiritual and have delighted, mesmerised, and even startled visitors for a century.

This exhibition brings Crawford Art Gallery’s full collection of Harry Clarke works together to offer visitors a rare and enriching experience of the beloved artist’s imagination and skill.

Curated by Michael Waldron

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