An artist who donated a set of charcoal drawings to the City Factory twenty years ago is hoping ‘Journal’ readers can help her track down the originals so she can copy them for a new exhibition.
It was 1991 and Cork-born artist Louise Walsh had just spent an entire summer drawing many of the women working in Derry’s former City Factory.
Her work formed part of a project called Available Resources which was later put on exhibition at the Orchard Gallery.
As a thank you gift, the artist subsequently gave a set of the charcoal drawings to the women of the City Factory.
Unfortunately, Louise never made any copies of the work and now she hopes that someone in Derry might know their whereabouts so she can photograph her old work.
“I was 27 years old, and I’m afraid I wasn’t very good at looking after any of my work for posterity,” she told the ‘Journal’.
“I jumped at the chance to draw the workers in a shirt factory. I had already worked in Derry on an artist’s residency in 1987/88 and was struck then by the history of Shirt Factory Workers”
The final exhibition at Orchard Gallery was opened by then Mayor Mary Bradley and was attended by many of the factory women who had inspired it. It was then that Louise decided to give away her set of drawings.
“I donated these drawings to the City factory as a gift - and as thanks for letting me in to their factory to draw the women,” she explains.
“I have no idea who was managing [the factory] or owned it or who took them - I only want a loan of them to photograph and maybe exhibit during the City of Culture year. I would return them to whoever has them.”
Louise Walsh is well known to many in the city, having been commissioned to create a special sculpture commemorating Derry’s female shirt factory workers several years ago – an artwork which continues to court controversy and uncertainty amid wrangles over its final destination.
Louise also created Belfast’s 1991 sculpture, Monument to the Unknown Women Worker and is soon to embark on another ambitious new project for next year’s City of Culture.
In ‘The Oral History Archive ’Louise intends to interview Derry’s shirt factory workers, preserving their invaluable contribution to the city for generations to come.
The sketch published here today is not an exact copy of those Louise seeks today, but they are similar in style and the artist hopes this drawing might jog someone’s memory.
So if you know the fate of these charming charcoal sketches, please contact reporter Julieann Campbell on: 71 272249 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and help solve a twenty-year riddle! See more of Louise’s work at: www.louisewalsh.org