Notes to Hugh Mulholland

1: Dirty Protest Armagh Armagh 1980.

The original photograph is reputed to have been taken illegally of Mairead Farrell {leader of women IRA prisoners in Armagh Prison during the dirty  protest of 1988}

2: Beware of agents 

A postcard sent to me from Czeckoslovakia  was titled Beware of Agents.

The images are criminal mugshots  of  convicted IRA members shown in the Guardian newspaper.

3 Members of the IRA in dirty disguises:  Sean Hick, Paul Hughes and Donna Maguire They were acquitted of the murder of Major Dillon Lee in Dortmund 1990, by a German Court. Their mugshots  were also shown in the Guardian to the best of my knowledge.

These works reflect the attempt to pose questions about British approaches to the conflict in Ireland especially through the daily media .

They are deliberately small and intimate as though the subject itself was not to be examined openly and in public.


IRA Paintings – Extended text for Hugh

1 September 2014

In the period in which these works were made I was working on a long project based on the idea of the everyday. The media provided then as it does now a broad surface which penetrates public and private life. I am interested in this interface as it is utilised by the power elites to express and change public life in the furtherance of the capitalist ideology of the west.

The Irish question is one of most urgent issues in these islands which come to the fore in the ebb and flow of a conflict which is on going. The question of how to express my disaffection with this state of affairs was done on an individual level in a society which though occasionally blasted by the violence exported across the water, yet was not fully engaged with the underlying issues that the occupation of Northern Ireland was a long standing colonial adventure which time and again unleashed lethal destruction in society.

I wanted to reveal the faces behind, shown in two of the works as the mugshots of common criminals and not as the political prisoners they were perceived to on the other side.

The third work is a view of Maired Farrell standing in her cell during the dirty protest

in Armagh Prison. It comes from a private source but was in circulation at the time.

I wanted to show that there was no gender division to the struggle to be rid of the colonial rule.

The scale of these works is important to me as I wanted to show something surrupticiously not as a grand public statement; as if I subjected myself to self censorship. The works were intended to reveal the hidden nature of the conflict, the commonplace manipulations of the media, the effect of such manipulations, e.g. the view I had at the time that such works should not be casually shown because of the fear that they would be subject to misreadings.


Stuart Brisley, London 2014