Making art in an old hairdressers

Hair Piece - old empty tubs of 'Black and White' hair wax once used by Locky Morris, now made into an object that has been included in the exhibition.
Hair Piece - old empty tubs of 'Black and White' hair wax once used by Locky Morris, now made into an object that has been included in the exhibition.

Beechwood Avenue is not a place you would expect to stumble across an art installation but that’s exactly where Derry born artist, Locky Morris (pictured, right), will open a temporary gallery next month.

Locky’s installation takes its name from a recent art work called ‘A Week in Goals’ - a battered fridge door found at the top of Bligh’s Lane and two fridge magnet photographs of collapsed goal posts spotted by Locky near the house where he was reared in Iniscarn Crescent in Creggan - (the two photos were taken days apart).

Locky’s installation is inside an old hairdressers and barbers (there’s actually a working barbers just next door).

“When I came here the first thing that grabbed my attention was the old floor - it’s like an old boxing gym or something from New York in the 1940s,” said Locky as he steps in from the street and begins to climb the steps.

After about 20 stairs, Locky opens the second door on the right to reveal a room covered from top to bottom in white paint.

“I’ve been flat out the last few weeks but with the help from some of the guys at the Bluebell Arts Project in the Gasyard Centre, I have been able to make good progress - things are coming along nicely,” said Locky happily.

Personal is a word that comes to mind when taking in Locky’s art but his work is also very much concerned with place and time and focused on how it can present such issues in a broader and much more universal context.

“I’m really looking forward to showcasing the pieces in what is in some sense their natural home.

“I’m never far from Creggan, my mother still lives there, as do my wife’s parents - funnily enough my mother used this very same hairdressers every week - so I guess naturally that resonates through my work, and so it seemed the perfect venue for an installation of this kind.” 

He added: “A lot of my pieces are influenced by a strong sense of place and time, so to put it in this social context – right in the heart of the Creggan community - increases the sense of connection and homecoming that is encompassed in these particular pieces.”

Some of the pieces on show include a 3D collection of old ‘Black and White’ hair wax tubs, used by Locky over the years and there’s also an audio piece where Locky plays simultaneous recordings of taking his two daughters to school (the recordings are seven years apart).

“I’m particularly interested to see the response of people who come upon the installation as they go about their daily routine - calling into the barber’s next door, or stopping off at the local shop. It’s not exactly something you see every day - although many of the objects and materials I work with are banal, everyday items which have been presented with a different subtext - and I hope it will get people talking,” he said.

Contemporary art can be sometimes difficult for those unfamiliar with it to understand but Declan Sheehan, Project Curator: BT Portrait of a City, said Locky’s installation in Creggan provides an insight into the local artist.

“Regardless of his [Locky Morris] substantial and international record as a contemporary artist exhibiting in Berlin, London, New York, Locky is still rightly known as a ‘local artist’ in Creggan.

“So for his show here in Creggan - where we know ‘where he comes from’, his background, his context - this recognition gives us an almost familial attachment to his work.

“But beyond this approach the work by Locky Morris is biographical, conceptual, emotional, physical, visceral, auditory.”

A Week in Goals will open on October 3 and run until December 13 at the Beechwood Shops. For more information about the artist go to www.lockymorris.org and for a full programme of City of Culture events running throughout 2013 go to www.cityofculture2013.com