A STRABANE artist, linked to Bloody Sunday, will exhibit a work related to the tragedy in a museum dedicated to it.
An art teacher at Claudy’s St Patrick’s and St Brigid’s College, Ryan Coyle’s work, entitled “Crosses”, will be exhibited as part of the “Bloody Sunday to Brexit” exhibition at the Free Derry Museum on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.
It’s an acrylic drawing that intertwines the day’s events with the impact it had on the wider community. Being someone who has always had a passion for art, Ryan has used his talents not only for his professional life, but has turned art into a part-time hobby.
As Ryan explains, it was a personal connection that led him to create Crosses.
“My mum Louise was present at the march and it is something we have often discussed. Bloody Sunday was a game changer in relation to the Troubles and it was something I always wanted to explore in my work. I originally planned to do a smaller piece but, after talking to a poet named Rosaline Callaghan, I saw this was a truly unique opportunity for me and pushed myself to do something bigger. “
Social media has been instrumental in engaging Ryan as he continues,
“A friend informed me of the call for artists interested in the project on Facebook. I immediately sent a question with a proposal on what I could do and luckily my proposal was accepted. As a person with a great interest in Irish history, I am immensely proud to have my work exhibited at the wonderful Free Derry museum. It was the project of a lifetime. This is the first time that my work has been shown in an exhibition and, if it never happens again, I am over the moon to have been part of this project ”.
“To explain the meaning of the work, ‘Crosses’ depicts a representation of each of the 14 victims, with the march itself in the background, with the title of the work a reference to the crosses carried by the families of the victims on their long, difficult and path very hindered for truth and justice. Fourteen white crosses, which became a symbol in the marches following the tragedy, appear as part of the march. The march takes place through an imaginary landscape that includes St Mary’s Church, where most of the funerals took place, the Free Derry Corner, the Rossville apartments, St Eugene’s Cathedral and the Guildhall. The time on the Guildhall clock indicates the time the shootings took place.
“Among the faces of the piece is Alana Burke, well known to people in the area who have lived in Zion for many years. Alana was badly injured that day and her presence in her piece signifies the suffering experienced at the hands of the British army. “
Ryan has no other exhibits on the horizon at the moment, focusing solely on private commissions, but says he will be looking for similar opportunities in the future.
“Bloody Sunday To Brexit” will run through 2022 and Ryan’s piece can now be viewed at the Free Derry Museum.