Lisa McGee officially opens ‘Derry Artists’ exhibition

The Cowley Gallery opened their exhibition titled ‘Derry Artists’ with an event on Saturday, September 19.

The exhibition was officially opened by Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee and featured three Derry artists; Jude McCandless, Aimee Melaugh and Pat Cowley. The exhibition was dedicated to the memory of Jennifer Cowley, late daughter of the owners of The Cowley Gallery, Pat and Christine.

Opening the exhibition, Lisa McGee said: “I’m so thrilled that Christine invited me to open this exhibition of Derry art, celebrating three artists who live and work in the city.

“The first is Aimee Melaugh, whose paintings explore the ideas of false personas and the relationships between true identity and deceiving appearances.

Pat and Christine Cowley, Lisa McGee, Jude McCandless and Aimee Melaugh.

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“Pat Cowley is no stranger to art lovers in the city. He was head of art in St. Peter’s for some years. Pat has exhibited his art widely throughout Europe, Ireland and the USA with shows in both Boston and New York.

“Jude McCandless is a superb draughtsman. His pencil drawings include Seamus Heaney, John Hume, Yeats, Joyce and Wilde.

“It really is so wonderful to be here and it’s a real testament to Christine that the gallery has survived the pandemic and that it’s now thriving.”

Christine Cowley said: “It’s a privilege to be opening this exhibition of Derry art. We’ve been in the Craft Village now for two years and the people here are so supportive.

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Artist Jude McCandless.

“This is an exhibition featuring on Derry art with three artists who are completely different from each other. We wanted to focus on the art here in the city. When it comes to us talking about art, having come through a pandemic, we have to remember that art isn’t just visual. It’s also a tribute to those who have survived in drama, writing, music and dance. They are all creatives and that has been a very hard journey over the past few years. So this is a celebration of that struggle.

“This is an absolute dedication and is being held in loving memory of our daughter Jennifer, who passed away on Christmas Day.”

Aimee Melaugh said: “It’s really nice to be shown in Derry because, although I’m based in Derry, a lot of my exhibitions would be further afield.

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“Definitely, over lockdown, it was hard to get motivated with everything being closed and the galleries being closed. Having this to look forward to and work towards has really pushed me to work.

Artist Aimee Melaugh.

“I’ve got three pieces here, one large piece which is based on a chemical disaster that happened in the 80s. A lot of my older stuff was based on historical events that happened, whereas my newer things would be based on poetry and literature. I have two smaller painting s here which are inspired by the writing of Sylvia Plath.”

Jude McCandless said: “I’m so honoured to have my art on display here with two great artists. I’ve been giving Christine some of my art for about a year and she’s aways been so good. I have eight Irish, sort of male heroes of mines that I wanted to draw. I thought this was a great place to do it.”

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The ‘Derry Artists’ exhibition is now open to the public in the Cowley Gallery in the Craft Village. Visit www.cowleygallery.com

Aimee Melaugh's artwork.
Christine and Pat Cowley, owners of Cowley Gallery.
Aimee Melaugh's art.

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John Hume by Jude McCandless.
Jude McCandless' art.