What began as an informal evening in Derry’s Shipquay Gallery with a few friends, relatives of Donovan Mc Keever and local artists, turned out to be a tremendous success for NI Children’s Hospice.
“Remembering Donovan Through his Art” was a unique exhibition hosted by James Burton of Shipquay Gallery and supported by his artistic colleagues, local businesses and picture framers. But although unique, few could have envisaged the level of interest and response. Before the exhibition officially started, almost a third of Donovan’s drawings had already been reserved.
Donovan McKeever, who died almost six years ago, at the age of 20, had a passion for drawing and had accumulated a considerable portfolio of pictures. His drawings all in pen were mainly of houses, buildings and street scenes locally but of other towns and cities he visited such as Glasgow and Manchester. Some drawings were also from his imagination as he depicted scenes in Exeter and Ballycastle (places he had never been to). Although Donovan was in a wheelchair for all of his teenage years and had the muscle wasting condition – Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy - he had a full life and seldom let any obstacles get in his way.
Although never one to make a fuss, Donovan would have wondered why he was the centre of attention on Monday evening at the city centre gallery in Shipquay Street.
He knew he was good at art, that was more than enough for him. But he would have been delighted that the proceeds from the sale of over thirty pieces of his work was going to NI Children’s Hospice, his favourite charity.
This money would benefit other children and young people locally who had life threatening conditions and help support Teenage Weekends which he used to love up in Horizon House.
Hilary Maguire from the NI Children’s Hospice highlighted Donovan’s love of the Children’s Hospice on Monday.
Donovan’s brother, Jack, spoke of his brother and his influence on all his family. James Burton acknowledged all the support given and gave an insight into Donovan’s artistic talent through the eyes of a local artist.
The evening was brought to a memorable end as Jessica Healy shared her musical talent with the captive audience. A community had come together to acknowledge the legacy of Donovan – “Remembering Donovan Through His Art” and to so generously support the NI Children’s Hospice. But it is not over yet.
Until Saturday, October 20, the public will have an opportunity to see Donovan’s work in Shipquay Gallery as his drawings will remain on exhibition until then. After that they will be distributed to all those who generously purchased the pictures. Speaking on behalf of Donovan’s family, his parents Brendan and Teresa added: “Sincere thanks are due to all involved and to all who attended, to all who helped and to Guildhall Press for sponsoring the exhibition catalogue. It was a memorable evening, a time to remember Donovan.”