A new series of paintings from Brian Maguire at IMMA later this month depicts the destruction of Aleppo, Syria and the global effect of war.
Opening on 26 January 2017, IMMA presents War Changes Its Address: The Aleppo Paintings, a new series of work by acclaimed artist Brian Maguire. The paintings are a result of Maguire’s observations and photographs of the destruction caused by the struggle for control of the eastern and central areas of Aleppo, Syria.
An earlier exhibition by Maguire, Over Our Heads the Hollow Seas Closed Up (2016), examined the refugee crisis then hitting Europe’s shores. As reflected in both exhibitions, Maguire sees the war in Syria and the refugee crisis as being intricately linked. Taken collectively, these exhibitions bear stark witness to the destruction of a city, and the human displacement caused by such destruction; manifested in the waves of Syrian refugees crossing into Europe.
Listen: Brian Maguire talks to RTÉ Arena about his Aleppo Paintings
The resulting exhibition includes new, previously unexhibited works. All sharing the title Aleppo, these new paintings are made in a washed-out palette of browns, greys and blues, with the occasional small burst of colour. Rather than a vibrant colourful city, one of the oldest in the world, the viewer is left looking at a place that has been stripped of identity, as well as physically destroyed. The paintings call to mind a stage set, empty after the spectacle of war. The occasional small burst of colour speaks to the unquenchable urge for life to continue, even among the most unpromising of settings.
The exhibition title - War Changes Its Address - speaks to the never-ending cycle of war, constantly ongoing somewhere in the world, perpetuated for profit and power, at the expense of communities, countries and human lives. Fuelled by a desire to see beyond the news coverage to gain a personal insight into the reality of the situation, Maguire’s Aleppo paintings document the ruined buildings of the city, offering a visceral and stark insight into the physical consequences of war.
The Mary Raftery Journalism Fund (MRJF) has announced a fundraising collaboration with Brian Maguire, who has agreed to donate the proceeds from the sale of his unique print War Changes Its Address – Aleppo March 2017 to the Fund. The print, based on a work featured in the exhibition, is limited to an edition of 60 signed and numbered copies by the artist, and will be the only print made of this group of paintings - find out more here.
The MRJF was established to continue the work of the campaigning writer and television producer after whom it is named, by supporting investigative journalism that gives voice to the powerless and challenges the powerful, as Mary did throughout her career. Brian Maguire’s work as an artist has similarly combined empathy with individual human suffering and an intense awareness of political and social justice.
Brian Maguire, War Changes Its Address: The Aleppo Paintings is presented in the Courtyard Galleries at IMMA from 26 January – 6 May 2018.