Tributes paid to “artist and friend” Bro Joe Connolly

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Bro Joe Connolly, former teacher, and well known member of the Derry community, passed away on Wednesday.

Mr. Connolly has been described as an “artist and friend” of The Playhouse, and representative Aine McCarron expressed sympathy on behalf of her colleagues.

Speaking about the late Mr. Connolly, Aine said he had made a great contribution to many events across Derry, and also to many publications.

“The Playhouse is extremely saddened to learn of the loss of a member of our family, artist and friend Bro Joe Connolly.

“A talented designer and illustrator, Joe added in many ways to the creative life of both The Playhouse, and the wider city of Derry, through years of creative contribution.

“As a painter, both in oils and watercolour, and a set designer, Joe contributed to the city’s many pantomimes, and other events both in St Columb’s Hall as well as city wide events.

“Joe also had several successful exhibitions in Derry, Dublin, Enniskillen and New York, and contributed too many publications and books.”

A native of Sligo, Mr. Connolly taught Art and Design in Belfast, and then in St. Peters High School in Derry, where he then retired from the ‘day job’ to pursue his creative projects.

This included painting in oil, acrylic and watercolour, stage design, stained glass and mosaic design, illustration and cartoon images in line and wash.

For over a decade, Mr. Connolly facilitated the Playhouse Painters weekly workshops, a close collective based around the Alily Foyle ethos - Active Learning In Later Years, a group which is targeted towards retired people interested in shared creativity.

“Joe completed the final piece of work of the late Derry iconographer and former teacher Sister Aloysius McVeigh, ‘The Mercy Window’, at The Playhouse.

“He has also for many years shown a keen interest in fishing and the traditional crafts associated with it.

“Joe will be missed by The Playhouse family and the wider community, but his memory will live on not only in our hearts but in the unique legacy of art that he has left behind.

“RIP,” added Aine.