By Sean Ryan - 12 April, 2015
The Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe has paid tribute to the work of the Bogside Artists, whose renowned murals, depicting scenes from the conflict in Derry, have attracted thousands of visitors.
Bishop Ken Good viewed ‘The People’s Gallery’ – as the murals are officially known – during a one-day event called ‘Art, Faith and Peace – The Bogside Artists: the Story Behind the Murals’ last week.
It was organised jointly by the Garden of Reflection, the Irish Churches Peace Project and Contemporary Christianity.
The organisers said the event offered an opportunity to learn about the story of faith and hope that lay behind “the city’s well known – but often little understood – Bogside murals”.
The event included an hour-long guided walking tour of the People’s Gallery, led by one of the three men who painted the murals, Tom Kelly.
Tom Kelly, Kevin Hasson and Tom’s brother William are the three men who created all of the twelve murals that constitute The People’s Gallery in the Bogside area of Derry.
They have been working on their murals project since 1993 when the group first formed.
Their work represents the Bogside and its people’s troubled history.
The artists travel the world giving presentations of their work and creating other murals. These three men are universally known as The Bogside Artists® to whom the name is legally copyrighted.
The existing twelve murals are located on walls in Rossville Street in the Bogside area of Derry.
Tom – who leads the Wellspring Christian Community in the Bogside – recounted his personal journey of faith, which led him to become a committed Christian.
He also took part in an ‘In Conversation’ event with the Cambridge-based philosopher of art, Dr Adrienne Chaplin, in which he discussed the role of faith in his work, and the potential of art and storytelling to promote healing and peace.
The event concluded with a talk by Dr Chaplin called ‘Art, Faith and Truth’, which explored how the murals – and other art through the ages – could “disclose truth beyond words”.
Bishop Good said his tour of the murals “gave a fresh insight into a distinctive gallery of art, unique to this city, which is recognised internationally but maybe less so locally”.