Jim’s tribute to Picasso at Derry’s Playhouse

Artist Jim Sweeney launches his exhibition 'My Tribute to the Art of Pablo Picasso' at The Playhouse with Elaine Forde, ICAN co-ordinator, and Niall McCaughan, Playhouse chief executive. (1904PG51)
Artist Jim Sweeney launches his exhibition 'My Tribute to the Art of Pablo Picasso' at The Playhouse with Elaine Forde, ICAN co-ordinator, and Niall McCaughan, Playhouse chief executive. (1904PG51)

A special tribute exhibition of the work of Pablo Picasso opened this week at The Playhouse.

The week-long exhibition by artist Jim Sweeney (which ran from Wednesday 18 until Saturday 20) featured copies of selective works by the famous Spanish artist.

Jim, who is originally from Letterkenny, first started painting in 2007 whilst receiving cancer treatment in St. Luke’s hospital, Dublin but his interest in Picasso has been with him since 1963 albeit, dormant until 2007.

“I had cancer in 2007 and I was receiving radiation treatment. My treatment usually happened in the evening time which meant that I had a lot of time on my hands during the day.

“I spent the mornings and afternoons working away in a little craft centre in the hospital and my painting has flourished from there.”

Jim (66) worked as a re-insurance broker for Lloyds of London before moving to Dublin in the early seventies. Jim is now retired and lives in Ballybofey.

“I’ve exhibited some of my work in a little cafe in Ballybofey and a little cafe in Letterkenny. The exhibition in The Playhouse Theatre is the first time I have ever been able to show some of my work in a place with such amazing facilities; I am very grateful for the opportunity they gave me.

Pablo Picasso is hailed as one of the most revolutionary artists of all time and the one who has exerted the greatest influence upon the art world in the 20th century.

“The Picasso paintings in my exhibition are my copies of those works which I felt most comfortable doing and they are the ones most admired by me,” said Jim.

Jim conveyed his hopes that people are able to see how he tried to interpret Picasso’s works and present them almost identically.

“I hope people had time to view and appreciate the vibrancy of colours and understand the instantly recognisable concept of visual reality in which Pablo Picasso has become well known.

“There is no formal way by which we can measure the superiority of his artistic creative genius,” said Jim.

Jim recently graduated from the ArtSkills course at The Playhouse and said he plans on concentrating on his paintings and explained he has no idea where it will take him.

“I have quite a few paintings of native American Indians but I was not able to include them in The Playhouse exhibition.

“I have to go back to hospital once a year for cancer check-ups but everything’s going well at the moment and I am just enjoying painting and drawing,” he said.