Willie Doherty chosen for official 1916 Rising art project

Local artist Willie Doherty pictured with his widely acclaimed previous art project, Apparatus.
Local artist Willie Doherty pictured with his widely acclaimed previous art project, Apparatus.

Derry artist Willie Doherty has been chosen to develop a major official artwork to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Mr Doherty, who has been nominated for the Turner Prize twice, and eight other artists have been selected from over 250 applicants who had been hoping to secure a commission for the landmark anniversary.

Globally renowned artist Mr Doherty had submitted a proposal to make a new video work examining the legacy of the 1916 Easter Rising.

The work will build on Mr Doherty’s long-standing interest in the relationship between landscape and memory, and will be shot in what have been termed sites of contested history in both Donegal and Dublin.

The video will premiere in the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny in July 2016 as part of the Earagail Arts Festival, and will be exhibited in Kerlin Gallery, Dublin and Matt’s Gallery, London in late 2016 and early 2017.

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, T.D., has now confirmed Mr Doherty’s project and eight others by Irish artists have been given the green light.

Speaking alongside the Chair of the Arts Council Sheila Pratschke and Director Orlaith McBride, Minister Humphries said the commissions range across traditional music, poetry, dance and visual arts and will form a key part of the Government’s Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme.
All nine will be presented to the public next year.

The projects were selected by an international jury after the Arts Council issued an ‘open call’ and promised to invest a total of €1 million in “ambitious ideas by artists across the country”.

Minister Humphreys said: “The arts and culture were an essential element of the movement that led to the events of the 1916 Rising, with the Gaelic and Literary revivals helping to inspire a new generation.

“It is vital, therefore, that the arts are central to the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. These commissions will help us to not only reflect on the events of a century ago, but also to look forward to the next 100 years.”

Ireland’s Arts Council Chair Sheila Pratschke said: “Almost 100 years on, these proposals represent a key response to 1916. It will be very exciting to watch over the months ahead as they are transformed from idea to reality. I am already confident that these artists, with such vision and ambition, will inspire the nation.”

Arts Council Director Orlaith McBride meanwhile added: “We in the Arts Council were overwhelmed – and delighted – by the response to our ‘open call’, even if it made the international jury’s task of choosing just nine applications from 258 all the more challenging. The successful projects will be at the heart of the commemoration programme, and we want as many people as possible to experience the work when it is presented next year.”

Willie Doherty has exhibited in many of the world’s leading museums including the Dallas Museum of Art, Kunstverin in Hamburg, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade and De Appel in Amsterdam.