Independence on the Skin
2016-From the 4th of February until the 23rd of April at RBG Gallery – Belfast. Opening Thursday, 4th February from 6-9pm.
Print size 594×420 mm
Occupation, nationalism, and struggles with identity plague our world’s history. In Ireland in particular, hundreds of years of British rule – which is argued to be the longest war of occupation in the world – has produced generation after generation of independent-minded Irish who have fought for their national identity. Their names are related to infamous organisations, such as the IRA and other pro-independence organizations. Even if there is a treaty of truce, these women and men remain in the fight to achieve their dream of independence.
Their tattoos tell the painstaking story of their lives, fallen friends, past actions. Their bodies bear indelible writings of an ideal and the human price paid to conquer it. Every drop of ink under their skin carries the memory of ancestors and comrades who died in this invisible war. Much has been written about them, especially in the seventies and eighties, during a series of attacks that seemed to never end, and in the collective conscience they are considered to be terrorists and subversive, but little – or almost nothing – is really known about them. This photographic account is an insight into their world, and it serves as a proof of adamant willingness to not give up, but to continue to fight for an Ireland that they will be able to cal their own.