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Imagining Galway in 4040

Wednesday, 19th April, 2017 1:00am

Galway in the year 4040 is the subject of a new art exhibition at The Kenny Gallery which will be officially opened by award-winning author Mike McCormack this Friday, 21 April, at 6pm.

Artist Christopher Banahan has imagined that Galway has been re-discovered by divers in the year 4040 like a lost Pompeii or Atlantis, as the city we know had long been sunk under rising sea levels.

The archivists of the day have to determine who the people were or what lives they might have lived, through the visual puzzle of their fresco portrait fragments. Hence their original identity is lost and judgement is made on their appearance only. Therefore famous iconic faces of present-day Galway are deliberately mixed up with less familiar faces.

The exhibition features portraits of well known Galway faces and is an homage to the everlasting cultural life of Galway. It is also an exhibition that addresses issues of identity and how we all fall into the visual trap of judging a book by its cover, particularly when we first set eyes on someone.

To encourage the viewer to look at the portraits with a futuristic gaze, the artist has deliberately titled all the portrait subjects with future archivists’ hypothetical names to identify who they might have been in life. However, some less enigmatically entitled study paintings are also present.

The exhibition was also inspired by Mervue Portraits Poems written by former Galway Poet in Residence Michael O’Loughlin, who wrote poems based on a series of Mervue resident portraits that the artist made for a Galway City Council commission in 2009.

Christopher Banahan studied for an M.A. in Fine Art at London’s Goldsmiths College in 1982-1984 and won a Rome Scholarship in Painting at the British School of Rome 1990. More recently, he gained an MA in Production and Direction from the Huston Film School, NUI Galway in 2013.His work can be found in the collection of the Arts Council, AIB Bank, The OPW and The European Central Bank. Christopher lives and works in Kinvara, County Galway.

The exhibition, titled ‘Galway 4040/Remains of Us’, is open Monday-Saturday, 9am to 5pm and continues at The Kenny Gallery, Liosbaun until 19 May.

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