Local art collective Open Door 77 bring ‘Origins’ to Derry’s Playhouse

Open Door 77 Derry Artists.
Open Door 77 Derry Artists.

This evening, July 16, sees the opening of an exciting new art exhibition ‘Origins’, courtesy of local art collective Open Door 77. The artists will also be on hand to discuss their work tonight.

Currently consisting of a dozen members, Open Door 77 are an ever expanding collective who work across a variety of media and themes. Initially founded a few years back by Derry artists Stephen Boyle and Colm Mulhern, Open Door 77 now consists of a core group of dedicated members which includes artists Rory Harron, Karen Cassidy, Brian Farrell, Kevin Morrison and Rachael Johnson. Recent recruits to OD77 who will also be exhibiting at The Playhouse this week include Catherine Ellis, Catherine Duddy, Mary McLaughlin, Julius Guzy, Jim Harkin and Leona Devine. The group’s recent exhibition ‘Emerge and See’ at the new London Street Gallery was widely praised.

Artist Karen Cassidy told the ‘Journal’: “Open Door 77 is all about getting artists out of the confines of their bedroom and working in public again.” Ultimately, she hopes that Derry’s ever-evolving art scene could develop the same close ties as its burgeoning music scene - which is famed for the collaborative nature of the bands and musicians who tread the local live circuit. “We hope to create something similar,” she says.

“The name Open Door 77 derives from our egalitarian commitment to being open and inclusive,” adds fellow artist Rory Harron.

“We formed as a collective as we have differing practices yet similar outlooks and thus wished to bring our creative talents together. Our practices are a fusion of painting, sculpture, installation, drawing and video. For the exhibition ‘Origins’ at The Playhouse, each artist has responded in their own unique way to explore the roots of our personal, social and political history,” he adds.

‘Origins’ will be an exploration of identities and localities which began when original members experienced the Winter Solstice at Grianan of Aileach. Some interpret the Neolithic structures created by our ancestors as an attempt to join the earth with the heavens. Time has passed, borders have changed. However, the sites remain. Each artist has responded to the ‘Origins’ theme in their own, unique way and the exhibition will incorporate an array of sculptures, drawings, paintings and installations.

Everyone is welcome to the launch at The Playhouse tonight, where the artists will also be present from 7pm – 9pm. For more, see: www.opendoor77.wix.com or on Facebook. ‘Origins’ runs at The Playhouse until July 26.