A new art exhibition by Christopher Banahan entitled Galway 4040/Remains of Us will be officially opened at The Kenny Gallery this Friday at 6pm.
Galway in the year 4040 has been re-discovered like a ‘lost Pompeii’ or ‘Atlantis’ by divers 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.
Even though the exhibition 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.
The only drawback to the project is the fact that we are in present day Galway and can easily identify well-known iconic faces like Michael D Higgins in the exhibition. To encourage the viewer to look at the portraits with a futuristic gaze/perception, the artist has deliberately titled all the portrait subjects with future archivist’s 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 residents portraits that the artist made for a Galway City Council commission in 2009.
Banahan studied for an MA in Fine Art at London’s Goldsmiths College in 1982-84 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, NUIG Galway 2013.
The official opening will be performed by award-winning author, Mike McCormack, and runs at the gallery from 9am to 5pm until Friday May 19.