Thomas Delohery is an Irish International Visual Artist now based in Melbourne. He has had 43 Solo Exhibitions and been part of 24 group exhibitions world wide, in such countries as, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Germany, Canada and Australia.
Thomas Delohery did the Artwork to promote the first International Richard Harris Film Festival 2013 as well as doing the artwork for this year's Film Festival 2014. Thomas Delohery's portrait's of Richard Harris are endorsed by the Harris Family as the official images of the Film Festival.
There is an ongoing file on his work in Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, where they have a piece of his Art in their Art Collection.
Delohery has received many awards, the most recent being a presentation from the Lord Mayor of Limerick City in recognition for the Art work he has done over the years on the Acting Legend Richard Harris, as well as a Distinguished Talent Visa from Immigration Australia to stay and work in the country. He is the Visual Art Tutor at Kangan Institute, Richmond and Broadmeadows Campus, Melbourne.
Important Solo Exhibitions:
Tacit Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia. Exhibition offically opened by Dr. Adam Brown of Deakin University. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHqvydJpr9A
For Walls Gallery, Melbourne, Australia. Exhibition officially opened by Reinaldo Garcia, Consulate General of Cuba. 'Che. The Man and the Internationalist.'
Tacit Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia. Offically opened by renowned Australian Artist Victor Majzner.
Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, Northern Ireland. Exhibition held in connection with International Holocaust Memorial Day.
Signal Arts Centre, Bray, Co.Wicklow, Ireland. Exhibition offically opened by Holocaust Survivor, Suzi Diamond.
Alley Arts and Conference Centre, Strabane,Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Exhibition held in connection with Holocaust International Memorial Day.
Holocaust, The Killing Fields of Cambodia and the war in Former Yugoslavia-reladed Exhibition at Kidogo Art Gallery, as part of the 'Interrogating Trauma: Arts and Media Responses to Collective Suffering' Conference, Perth, Western Australia. Awarded a grant by the Arts Council of Ireland for this Exhibition.
Holocaust-related Solo Exhibition at Friar's Gate Theatre, Kilmallock, Co.Limerick, Ireland. Offically opened by Eamon Lenihan, 'Blue of the night,' Lyric FM Radio, RTE.
PIER 21, Canada's Immigration Museum, Halifax, Canada. (Held in connection with Nova Scotia's Holocaust Education Week 2007) Thomas Delohery was awarded grants by the Arts Council of Ireland and Culture Ireland for this Exhibition.
Toronto Centre for the Arts, Canada. Opened by Mrs. Elizabeth Comper, Fouder of FAST (Fighting Anti-Semitism Together). (Held in connection with Toronto's Holocaut Education Week 2007). Thomas Delohery was awarded an Honorarium from Yad Vashem Toronto, as well as a grant from the Arts Council of Ireland and Culture Ireland for this Exhibition.
Toradh Gallery, Co.Meath, Ireland. The work on this Holocaust related Exhibition, 'Man-made' was carried out with the support of a grant from the European Association for Jewish Culture, London, UK.
St.John's Theatre & Arts Centre, Listowel, Co.Kerry, Ireland. Opened by Billy Keane (son of renowned playwright John B. Keane).
Friar's Gate Theatre, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, Ireland. Offically opened by the late and great Richard Harris's three sons, Actor Jared Harris (of MADMEN and SHERLOCK HOLMES GAME OF SHADOWS fame), Actor Jamie Harris and Director Damian Harris.
The Wiener Library, Institute of Contemporary History, London, UK. (The World's oldest Holocaust Memorial Institution).
The Changing Room Gallery, London, UK. Officially opened by Suzanne Barggett OBE, Head of the Department of Holocaust and Genocide History, Imperial War Museum, London).
The Courthouse Arts Centre, Co.Wicklow,Ireland. Officially opened by Mickie Goldstein, Head of the Cultural Section, Israeli Embassy, Dublin, Ireland.
The Old Market Arts Centre, Co.Waterford, Irealand. Officially opened by Peter Drinan (Cartoonist with the Irish Examiner).
Clare Museum, Ennis, Co.Clare, Ireland. Offically opened by Poet Mark Whelan.
BBC Buildings, Belfast, N.Ireland.
Dundalk County Museum, Co.Louth, Ireland. Offically opened by Yanky Fachler.
Main Gallery, Down Arts Centre, Co.Down, N.Ireland.
Sunburst Gallery, Ards Arts Centre, Co. Down, N.Ireland. Offically opened by renowned Ulster Artist David Crone.
Bourne Vincent Gallery, University of Limerick,Co.Limerick, Ireland. Offically opened by Prof. Dermot Keogh M.A. PhD, Head of History at the University College Cork (UCC), Co.Cork, Ireland.
Clothworthy Arts Centre, Antrim, N.Ireland. Offically opened by Artist Anushiya Sundaralingam.
N.U.I. Galway Art Gallery, Co.Galway, Ireland. Offically opened by Mike Fitzpatrick the then Director of Limerick City Gallery, presently the Head of Limerick School of Art and Design.
Dunamaise Theatre and Arts Centre, Portlaoise, Co. Laois, Ireland. Offically opened by Holocaust Survivor Zoltan Zinn-Collis.
The Market Place Gallery, Co.Armagh, N.Ireland. Offically opened by renowned Ulster Artist David Crone and former Head of the Fine Art Department at the University of Ulster, Belfast, N.Ireland.
Signal Arts Centre, Bray, Co.Wicklow. Officially opened by Joe Tully, Arklow Arts Officer.
Bank of Ireland Arts Centre, Dublin City, Ireland.
Ojo Centre, Cologne, Germany. (Held in connection with anti-Fascist week).
De Valera Library Gallery, Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland. Officially opened by Artist Mick O'Dea R.H.A.
Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co.Mayo, Ireland. Officially opened by Chairman Eamon Smith.
The Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick City, Ireland. Offically opened by Artist Eamon O'Kane.
Limerick City Gallery of Art, Co.Limerick, Ireland. Opened by renowned Limerick and Irish Artist John Shinnors.
Mullingar Arts Centre, Co. Meath, Ireland.
Tipperary Excel Centre, Co. Tipperary, Ireland. Offically opened by Co.Clare Arts Officer Siobhan Mulcahy.
The DeValara Library Gallery, Co.Clare, Ireland. Officially opened by Artist and President of the R.H.A. in Dublin, Mick O'Dea.
Important Group Exhibitions:
69 Smith Street Gallery, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia.
'Death be kind,' Upstairs at The Alderman, Brunswick East, Melbourne, Australia.
Hunt Museum, Limerick City, Ireland.
Glor Irish Music Centre, Ennis, Co.Clare, Ireland
The Jelly Leg'd Chicken Arts Centre, Reading, UK.
Cavancor Gallery, Lifford, Co.Donegal. Offically opened by John O'Sullivan, IONA Technologies PLC.
Kunstler Haus II, Bavaria, Germany.
Siamsa Tire Arts Centre, Co. Kery, Ireland. Work selected by Declan McGonagle (former Director of IMMA).
Gem House of Fine Art, Sullivan's Quay, Cork City, Ireland.
Living Landscape, West Cork Arts Centre, Co. Cork, Ireland. (My work was recommended for this exhibition by renowned Ulster Artist and Secretary for the R.H.A., David Crone.
1 Oxford Street Gallery, Belfast, N.Ireland.
Castle Court, Donegal Place, Belfast, N.Ireland.
People's Colege, Adelaide Park, Belfast, N.Ireland.
Works in Public Collections:
University of Ulster Permanent Collection, N.Ireland.
Oberpfalzwer, Kunstler Haus Permanent Collection, Bavaria, Germany.
The Wiener Library Institute of Contemporary History, London, UK. (The world's oldest Holocaust Memorial Institution).
The Art Collection, Yad Vashem Museum, The Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority, Jerusalem, Israel.
Jewish Holocaust Centre, Melbourne, Australia.
Works in Private Collections:
Suzanne Bardgett OBE, Head of Department of Holocaust and Genocide History, Imperial War Museum, London.
Actor Jared Harris, UK and USA. (Of Madmen, The curious case of Benjamin Button and Sherlock Holmes Game of Shadows fame)
Actor Jamie Harris, UK and USA.
Director Damian Harris, USA.
Bill Harris, (Actor Richard Harris's brother),UK
Artist Eamon O'Kane, Bristol, UK.
Classical Musician Anna Mantere, Hynikau, Finland.
Holocast Survivor Herr Otto Schwerdt, Regensburg, Germany.
German Artist Veronica Bolay, Ireland.
Dr.Adam Brown, Lecturer at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.
Artist Anne Brennan, Ireland.
Artist Peter Drinan, Ireland.
Mikie Goldstein, Former Head of the Cultural Section, Israeli Embassy, Ireland.
Hagar Lipkin, Former Head of the Cultural Section, Israeli Embassy, Ireland.
Allison Sullivan, (Actor Richard Harris's niece), Ireland.
Eamon Lenihan, 'Blue of the night,'Lyric FM, RTE, Ireland.
Dermot McCabe, (Former Head of Engineering at RTE), Ireland.
Henry Robinson, Human Rights Campaigner, UK.
Holocaust Survivor Zoltan Zinn-Collis, Ireland.
Holocaust Survivor Suzi Diamond, Ireland.
Holocaust Survivor Chavka Folam Raban, Israel.
Holocaust Survivor Olga Salomon, Israel.
Holocaust Survivor Goldie Steiner, Canada.
Renowned Artist Neil Shawcross, N.Ireland.
Renowned Limerick and Irish Artist John Shinnors, Ireland.
Artist Anushiya Sundaralingam, N.Ireland.
Artist Andrea Tuchezyora, Czech Republic.
Artist Victor Majzner, Australia.
Michelle Bernshaw, Principal of King David, Australia.
Many other works in private collections in Ireland, N.Ireland, UK, USA, Holland, Poland, Germany, Czech republic, Finland, Australia, Israel and Canada.
2013: Presentation from the Lord Mayor of Limerick City Ireland in recognition for all the art work he did to honour the legacy of one of Limerick's most famous sons, the late and great Richard Harris.
2012: Distinguished Talent Visa from Immigration Australia.
2008: Travel and Mobility Award from The Arts Council of Ireland to aid costs to Perth, Western Australia, where Thomas Delohery exhibited his Art as part of the 'Interrogating Trauma' International Conference.
2007: Honorarium from Yad Vashem Toronto to defray costs of having a Solo Exhibition in Toronto, Canada.
'Culture Ireland' Award to help defray costs of having two Solo Exhibitions in Canada in October and November 2007; one in Halifax and the other in Toronto, as well as conducting workshops and lectures in both places.
2006: European Association For Jewish Culture Visual Arts Grant from London to defray costs of a Solo Exhibition at the Toradh Gallery, Co.Meath, Ireland.
2005: Artist's Support Grant from Clare Arts Office and County Council to defray costs of a Solo Exhibition in the Clare Museum, Ireland.
Travel and Mobility Award from the Arts Council of Ireland to travel to Poland and Lithuania for a 2 week seminar run by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.
2004: Scholarship awarded by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, for a 2 and a half week Holocaust Educators Course at Yad Vashem, The International School for Holocaust Studies, Israel, 27th June - 14th July 2004.
Artist in Residence, Herzliya, Israel, 17th - 27th June and 14th July - 17th July.
Travel and Mobility Award from the Arts Council of Ireland to travel to Israel for a month mainly to do interviews with Holocaust Survivors.
Artist's Support Grant from Clare County Council to defray costs of a Solo Exhibition in the North of Ireland.
2002: Nominated for the A.I.B Art Prize by County Clare Arts Office and the De Valera Library Gallery, Ennis, Co.Clare, Ireland.
Recipient of the first Tyrone Guthrie Centre International Bursary Scheme Award to go to Bavaria for a 4 week residency. Flights were also kindly covered by the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.
Artist's Support Grant from Clare County Council to defray costs of a Solo Exhibition in Bray,Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
2001: Recipient of the Airlingus Travel Award, by the Arts Council of Ireland to travel to Germany for research.
Artist's Support Grant from the Clare County Council to defray costs of having a Solo Exhibition in Clare.
For a selection of work by Thomas Delohery click here.
Links to last Solo Exhibition opening:
Dr. Adam Brown is the Author of two books.
Judging 'Privileged' Jews: Holocaust Ethics, Representation, and the 'Grey Zone.'
Communication, New Media and Everyday Life.
'NIGHT BUT NO MORNING.'
Thomas Delohery is not directly connected to the Holocaust but he has developed a sensivity towards the subject because of his research, interviews,his humanitarianism, empathy and attempt to understand the event.
Rico Le Brun a postwar abstractionist and a non-jew insisted the Holocaust was a subject that no serious artist would neglect.
The dehumanization, humilation and mass murder of European Jewry by Nazis was an event of unparalleled proportion.
Like early Christian artists who tried to imagine the cruifixion of Jesus,artists are trying to artistically convey the horror and memory of the Holocaust.
Artists like Robert Morris,Christain Boltanski, Johnathan Borofsky, Anselm Kierfer and Sue Coe are the new generation of artists who are dealing with issues of digression and the suffering of mankind.Before them George Gross, Otto Dix, Max Ernst, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso made incomparable political statements and reflected on the violence of the century in many of their works.
In Thomas Deloherys work we see an artist who goes beyond trying to reproduce a memory or an event he did not experience,we find a silent and heartrendering amplication in his work of the fragility and brief duration in time of human beings who had no ordinary deaths.With each drawing we see small stories narrated with the atmosphere of death,they seem to announce the melancholy and desperation that the emotion of the end brings with it.
When someone dies it is the little memory that truly disappears, everything that they knew, their stories, their favourite books,the music they listened to.. their memories,everything that forms us and constructs us disappears when we die....this memory of the past belongs to everyone, a fragment of a memory, an indivual memory. Thomas Deloherys presents an imposing, uncomfortable and poetic collection of work that reminds us that everyone has a death of their own.
Thomas Delohery is an International Visual Artist who was born in Ireland. He has had 42 Solo Exhibitions and been part of 24 group exhibitions world wide, in such countries as, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Germany, Canada, and Australia.
He has serverval pieces of art work in both private and public collections including in the permanent art collection of Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, and in the Wiener Library Institute of Contemporary History, London, UK (The world's oldest Holocaust Memorial Institution).
He has been awarded travel and mobility awards from the Arts Council, Ireland and also from Culture Ireland and he recently recieved a Distinguished Talent Visa from Australian Immigration.
By Sandra Ann Minchin.
LAUNCH OF THOMAS DELOHERY'S NIGHT BUT NO MORNING
Tacit Contemporary Art Gallery, Melbourne
9th April, 2013. Officially opened by Dr. Adam Brown. Deakin University.
Dr Adam Brown, Deakin University
Many thanks to Tom and the staff of Tacit Art Gallery for having me here this evening. I feel very honoured to launch Night But No Morning – the latest testament to the power of Tom's art and the depth of his talent. As I'm sure many of you here know, Tom is a prolific and multi award-winning artist with a passion for his subject matter that permeates everything he does. He is fast approaching 50 solo exhibitions and has contributed to an additional 24 group exhibitions. When I first met Tom in Fremantle at a trauma conference in December 2008, I was instantly impressed with his personal integrity, the quality of his work, and his dedication to the remembrance of the Holocaust.
One noteworthy quality of Tom's artwork is that while he gestures to important facets of the Holocaust such as Jewish resistance, he never loses sight of the victims' suffering under Nazi persecution. Crucially, the way in which Tom understands and communicates the unprecedented nature of the event is heavily influenced by the Italian-Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, Primo Levi. This was reflected most directly in Tom's 2011 exhibition Shipwrecked in the Death Camps of Europe; however, Levi's testimony also impacts on this latest collection. As Levi emphasised in his meditation on the extreme dehumanisation confronting Jews in the camps, ‘our language lacks words to express this offence, the demolition of a man.' Reflecting the threat to pre-existing conventions and frameworks that the Holocaust entails, Tom's work simultaneously gestures to historical authenticity through its intertextual links with often well-known archival photographs while rejecting any mimetic recreation of events. Implicitly gesturing to the paradox of comprehending the
incomprehensible, Tom guides the viewer only so far along the road to understanding while allowing one's subjectivity and imagination to make sense of his traumatic imagery.
My own research and teaching in Holocaust studies over the years (including my own indebtedness to the writings of Primo Levi) no doubt frames the prism through which I view Tom's evocative and provocative artwork. I can't help but relate many of the pieces to historical and cultural debates which have not been – and most likely never will be – resolved. Tom told me earlier that part of the inspiration for many of these paintings was to ‘bring fear back into secluded areas', to reveal that which is not meant to be revealed. This works on two levels, as not only was the nature of the Nazis' intentions shrouded in secrecy to deceive their victims – a secrecy Tom's artwork subverts – but the settings and experiences with which Tom's paintings are primarily concerned have often been marginalised by scholars, artists and commentators alike. The overwhelming focus on gas chambers and concentration camps has only relatively recently been joined by increased attention to Jewish experiences in the forests of Eastern Europe, whether it be as victims of mass shootings or as members of the partisans. The presence of women in resistance groups is also highlighted in the exhibition without resorting to gendered stereotypes or the voyeuristic tendencies of much popular Holocaust culture, contributing in its own way to countering the male-dominated conceptualisation of the event.
Yet I find the ambiguity of Tom's work to be its most compelling – and most important – feature. To take one example, the open mouth and hollowed eyes of one soldier about to shoot a kneeling man in the back of the head generates an emotive expression that resists clear-cut meaning. On the one hand, this characterisation might be taken to connote laughter and a disturbing pleasure on the part of the perpetrator, while on the other hand, it might be interpreted as
gesturing to the reluctance, hesitation (and in some cases trauma) that perpetrators experienced – something that does not absolve them, but should nonetheless be acknowledged. The debate over perpetrator behaviour was sparked in the 1990s by Daniel Goldhagen's controversial study entitled Hitler's Willing Executioners, which argued that perpetrators were invariably and solely motivated by what he termed ‘exterminationist anti-Semitism'. In the years since, many scholars have countered this mono-causal view by pointing to the role of financial benefit, career advancement, the bureaucratisation of murder, and peer pressure. The debate is ongoing.
Primo Levi in Australia
by Mirna Cicioni
The Irish artist Thomas Delohery, whose work has centred on the Holocaust for the last thirteen years and who acknowledges Levi as one of his main sources of inspiration, has had well-attended exhibitions in Australia; the latest )Shipwrecked in the Death Camps of Europe, held at the Tacit Contemporary Art gallery, Melbourne, in March-April 2011) owes its title to Levi's remark that liberation from the camps was a feeling comparable to being shipwrecked.
Thomas Delohery's opening 29.3.2011.
Shipwrecked in the death camps of Europe.
One doesn't usually associate the Holocaust with art. Thinking about the Holocaust one thinks of starvation, murder and extermination on an unprecedented scale but certainly not art. And yet, strange as it may seem, art was made during the Holocaust. We all know about the deception that was Terezenshtat but art was made even in the death camps. There was even an art museum in Auschwitz between 1941 and 1943. This museum displayed Nazi sanctioned art works made by the inmates for the pleasure of the German guards and soldiers. For me this Nazi museum at Auschwitz has become a powerful symbol of the Nazi pathologically twisted sense of culture. Just as they perverted every aspect of what's human, lawful or civilized, they also perverted art. The Nazis lust for racial purity and ideological world domination resulted in turning cruelty and suffering into an art form. No wonder that just after the Holocaust various cultural thinkers argued that art must fall mute when addressing the Holocaust - that no image could represent its meaning. Or as the German philosopher Adorno put it so eloquently in 1955: to write a poem after the Holocaust is barbaric...
The abyss of the Holocaust presented a huge challenge for artists. How could one even begin to approach the subject through art? And yet, not surprisingly there was an immediate response by painters, poets and writers with the best weapon available to them - their art. So as soon as the news about the concentration camps begun to filter out in 1945 no lesser fifure than Picasso attempted to paint a picture about the Holocaust, titled The Charnel House. Since then, there has been a long line of artists around the world that continue to deal with the Holocaust. For some it has become an all consuming subject.
As stated in the flyer accompanying this exhibition Tom has over the past 13 years focussed primarily on one theme in his art practice - the Holocaust. He became ineterested in the subject of the Holocaust during his student days in Ireland. He went on to complete a course on the Holocaust at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, has visited numerous Holocaust museums around the world, interviewed Holocaust survivors - just to get some insight into this incomprehensibly gruesome event that has scarred humanity. This human tragedy has left an enormous, black hole on our collective consciousness - an emotional pit. Tom's art doesn't just rely on what he knows about the Holocaust, he is perhaps even more inspired and propelled by the depth of his emotional response to the event. One of his artistic influences is drawn from the Jewish painter Chaim Soutine. Soutin painted nature by capturing the inherent violence and beauty of it at the same time. Tom adopts Soutine's love of the expressive, the strength of colour, the immediacy of the brush stroke and an appreciation of beauty - even in the vulgarity of suffering.
He begins with a photograph which to him is evidence, a record, a truth. He then edits it by focusing in on the idea he feels. These photographic images are taken from books, official records or exhibits, usually of people in concentration camps. These photographic images of people are transformed by his process of painting into a distressed space filled with eroded, pock marked, broken images. They turn into what appear to become dead, feral animal carcasses, resembling road kill at times. Carcasses of a strange species displaced and discarded in a spiritually frozen world. That is what has become of these once full human beings after they have been ravaged by the Holocaust.
Tom's painting drawings are made up of a multitude of short, urgent strokes of pastel or paint. They become a kind of automatic handwriting. Apart from this personal text, he often incorporates printed text into his works as in the portraits that we see here tonight. This text is taken from the multitude of rules and regulations that governed the camps, collaged onto the paper and drawn over. Perhaps Tom is suggesting that these depicted individuals were absorbed into the rules and regulations by which they existed to such an extent that they became these rules. Together with the tattooed number on their arm, they became what Primo Levi called Muselman's - ghosts, hardly human, their human identity having been ripped out from them. They stare out at us blankly and non-judmentally. They almost seem to ask - is this what has become of us? Is this what we are capaple of doing to each other? Most of the paintings in this exhibition present us with images slightly out of focus, almost shadows or stains of a once vibrant humanity. They are disturbing, unnerving, uncomfortable to look at, yet they draw us into their world and don't let go! The cry of never again in response to the Holocaust has become rather hollow in light of recent history. So perhaps a more relevant outcry should be - never forget. Tom's art is an act of memorialising the Holocaust.
The title of this exhibition is taken from a quote by Primo Levi's who referred to his liberation from the death camps - that it made him feel like being shipwrecked. Freedom and liberation must have hit all survivors like a huge, emotional tsunami. the question facing them was - what now? How do we begin to act human again? And indeed, if we take an overview of this exhibition, each painting captures a moment of this shipwreck of humanity; disoriented, dead or dying like bits of human flotsam in a sea of disbelief. For me, each of these paintings is a piece of the raft that makes me feel like I'm floating in a sea of human debris of the Holocaust. In front of these picture I feel totally helpless, disoriented and dislodged - shipwrecked in fact.
In my view the power of art is the fact that it can make the intangible visible. This exhibition is perfect example of that power.
I wish Tom every success.
Interrogating Trauma Collective Suffering in Global Arts and Media.
Edited by Mick Broderick and Antonia Traverso. First published 2011 by Routedge.
Visual Artists Vicky Smith (England) and Thomas Delohery (Ireland), who respectively provided the images for the conference programme and this publication's front cover.
The Sunday Business Post. Agenda. Ireland's cultural and lifestyle magazine.
By Helen Boylan
Since 1997, Clare artist Thomas Delohery's work has centred on the theme of the Holocaust. For the most part, it pays tribute to those who perished in it and honours their courage, suffering, humanity and various ways of resisting the Nazis. More than just people died in the Holocaust says Delohery. I think a certain part of humanity did.
An exhibition called If This is a Man express these themes across across his works of mixed media on paper. Holocaust survivor Suzi Diamond opened his exhibition earlier this week.
If This is a Man, by Thomas Delohery, runs at Signal Arts Centre, Bray, Co Wicklow until September 27.
Exploring the actor in all his parts
Mary Leland on the work of an artist fascinated by the late actor Richard Harris.
WHEN does an iterest become an obsession? the question might well be prompted by the opening next week of the first of no fewer than five exhibitions by an artist fascinated by the life, career and personality of the late actor Richard Harris.
The artist is Clare-born Thomas Delohery, a graduate of the University of Ulster and a painter of large themes and ideas. Over the last few years Delohery, who works in Limerick, has been engaged on a series of paintings depicting aspects of the Holocaust, and it seems something of a step to move from that particular subject to the images and issues relating to an actor.
Of course it could be argued that an actor is more than the sum of his parts: in creating characters he or she expands beyond the ordinary boundries of life. This biographical challenge is the one chosen by the painter who presents the first exhibition at the Friar's Gate Theatre, Kilmallock, Limerick, from October.
On that occasion the Harris family will be present almost en masse: sons Jared, Damien and Jamie will be accompanied by brothers Bill, Ivan and Noel in celebration of a famous life well-lived. In his promotional statement Delohery expresses his motivating sense of loss: How could somebody as large in life and stature as Richard Harris simply fade out of our esistence? The answer, of course, is that Harris could fade just as others have faded; in my case I have to admit that Harris didn't have any great impact on my life, so I can't quite share Delohery's mourning. All the same, even as I write this, I think of The Field and that towering performance in what is John B Keane's finest play.
That was a great talent and yes, it will be missed. So if I hadn't thought there was any noticeable lack of respect due to the man or his work perhaphs I simply wasn't interested enough to notice. Not so Delohery. When Harris died on October 2002 there was, he writes, a deadly silence and a lot of unanswered questions. Harris had seemed in life to rage against most things, even most people.
Again and again Delohery touches on this question of struggle: the actor wrestled, he fought on, had a charging life-force, went at things headlong. In his statement, which is almost an essay, Delohery asserts that Harris is an ispiration to all Irish people, largely because he was the first Irish actor to penetrate the Hollywood scene.
While film historians might argue with that claim - I suspect even Harris himself might have argued agaist it - it probably is true that Harris, in his generation at least, ensured that Irish actors could be given mainstream film roles, rather than type-cast as priests and policemen.
I think Richard was a good ambassador not only for Limerick and Ireland, but also for how one should approach life, writes Delohery. He seemed to go at it headlong, with few, if any, apologies. He took all it had to offer, the good and the bad, and continued to struggle for more right up to the very end. He fought tooth and nail for what he wanted and what he believed in.
Fighters of that kind often leave a few victims in their wake, not all of them intentional, but artist on artist rarely measures the depth of blood on the carpet; perhaps Delohery is aware of that little sympathetic complicity in his own assessment - could it be called an identification? - for he admits to Harris having a tormented spirit. But this is all speculative, with only a small percentage of the public persona truly related to the private individual, his hopes, his home and family.
Although Delohery was in Limerick at the time of the memorial service he didn't attend because he didn't know it was happening. It's only now, four years later, that he is able to mount these exhibitions as a way of saying farewell. The shows will be linked only by their subject, as each is built around a different theme.
The first at Kilmallock is the cumulative one, treating different aspects of the life; then Richard Harris; Anything is Possible will be opened by poet Desmond O'Grady at the actor's former school Crescent College in Limerick on November 3; Limerick Race Course is the venue for From Dickie Harris to Richard Harris from December 26; John B Keane's son Bill will open Richard Harris, The Bull McCabe at St John's Arts Theatre in Lostowel, and John Williams will preside at the final session, Kilkee, Richard Harris's Spiritual Home on March 9 at the Ramada Kilkee Bay Hotel.
EXHIBIT A SOPHIE GORMAN
A life in the hard lane
There can be no denying that every line and wrinkle on this most familiar face was well-deserved. Richard Harris' was a life hard-lived and featured a veritable kaleidoscope of moods, many of which artist Thomas Delohery has successfully depicted in his exhibition Richard Harris: The Bull McCabe.
Running for the rest of the month in St John's Theatre and Arts Centre in Listowel, co Kerry, this is the fourth of five tribute shows Delohery has put together to celebrate the late and great Harris.
The particular focus of this one is Harris' legendary performance in John B Keane's The Field, when his chilling portrayal of the most weathered Bull McCabe left no one in any doubt about the power of the bull's roar.
Delohery is an artist who never gets involved with a project lightly. Since 1997, he has concentrated on the theme of the Holocaust, spending a long time studying in Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, followed by related studies in Poland and Lithuania to create a number of powerful exhibitions.
In 2004, he turned his attention to this Limerick actor and has been obsessed by him ever since. The resulting work was given the ultimate seal of approval when Harris' three sons and his brother all bought pieces at the first tribute show. According to them, Delohery has captured the real essence of their father. And they should know.
City's failure to honour Harris almost criminal
By Aine Fitzgerald
LIMERICK city's failure to honour Richard Harris properly was described as almost criminal by at the opening of a tribute to the actor in Friars' Gate Theatre, Kilmallock.
Clare artist Thomas Delohery was speaking at the opening of his exhibition, Richard Harris: A Life. To say that a tribute to Richard in his home town is overdue is an understatement - it is almost criminal, he said. Mr Delohery paid tribute to the staff at Friars' Gate and the manager Caoimhe Reidy, for having the vision to host a show in honour of one of Limerick's and Ireland's most important sons. Family, friends and fans of the late actor converged on the East Limerick venue last Sunday for the official opening of the mixed media exhibition which consists of 44 pieces is dedicated to the life and times of the Limerickman.
Mr Harris' son Jamie, recalled a time when his father took him to view an exhibition to give him artistic direction in his life. Standing in front of one abstract painting, Jamie recalled that Richard announced: Maybe we would appreciate it more after a pint of Guinness, earning a chorus of laughter from the Friars' Gate audience.
When asked what his father would have thought about all the commotion in his honour over the weekend, he said: We have been talking about that, and we think that he probably would have stayed in the pub, but he would have loved it.
Jamie also complimented Mr Delohery on his depictions of his father which include Mr Harris as the Bull McCabe, King Arthur and on the beach in Kilkee.
After the opening audience members, who also included Richard's two other sons, Jared and Damian, and his brother Billy, were treated to a poetry reading by Limerick poet Mark Whelan. As poems such as Portrait of Harris as King Arthur and A Portrait of Harris as Bull McCabe, were read aloud, silent footage of the actor's Oscar-nominated performance in The Field played in the background.
The night ended with an invitation to drinks in Charlie St George's pub in Parnell Street in the city, one of Richard Harris' old haunts. Richard Harris: A Life runs at Friars' Gate Theatre until October 25.
Richard Harris festival showcases work of Clare artist
THE CLARE HERALD.
Two images of Richard Harris by Clare Artist Thomas Delohery are being used to promote the Richard Harris International Film Festival 2014.
The Film Festival runs in Limerick from 24-26th October 2014. All three of Richard's sons are expected to attend this year.
Jared Harris of Madmen, The Quiet Ones, Sherlock Holmes Game of Shadows and The curious case of Benjamin Button fame couldn't attend last year due to being on location in Canada. It was Jared Harris who supplied Thomas Delohery with the personal photograph of his Dad outside a Munster game that inspired the image, Richard Harris. Munster Forever.
The title of the piece was inspired by Actor Russell Crowe's (good friend of Richard's since making Gladitor together) tweet Munster forever!!! to a Leinster fan when the fan said, come back to Dublin and we'll bring you to a real rugby game#Leinster Rugby.
Jared's reaction to the new art work of his Dad by Thomas Delohery was, Love this picture. Really captures his spirit.
Thomas Delohery is hoping to travel from his present home in Melbourne, Australia to attend again this year. Delohery feels it is such an honour to be asked to do the art work to promote a film festival in Richard's name.
Thomas did Five Exhibitions in tribute to Richard in 2006 and 2007. The first was in Friar's Gate Theatre in Killmallock in Limerick on the 1st of October (Richard's Birthday) 2006 opened officially by Jared, Damian and Jamie Harris. The fifth and last show was in Kilkee in 2007. This seemed a fitting place to finish the Exhibitions as Richard saw kilkee as his spirital home. Richard's house in the Bahamas was also named Kilkee.
arts & culture The Clare Champion
by Carol Byrne.
A Painting of Richard Harris by Clare artist Thomas Delohery is to be used as the inaugural International Richard Harris Film Festival, which runs from December 4-6.
Originally from O'Callaghan's Mills, Delohery now lives in Melbourne, Australia. He said he was very honoured to be asked to do the art work for the festival.
I think this is the perfect way to honour the late and great Richard Harris, who was a very proud Limerick man but saw Kilkee as his spiritual home, so much so he named his house in the Bahamas, Kilkee House, he said.
His image was projected onto King John's Castle last week when the programme for the film festival was launched.
As Richard was a local man and had gone to such heights in his career, for that reason I saw him as an inspiration. I have been very fortunate that I have got to know the Harris family through doing five tribute shows in honour of Richard and the family have been a great support. I enjoy painting Richard as he had an amazing face and it was a face that was well lived, earning every wrinkle, he continued.
A year and a half after Richard Harris passed away in 2002, Thomas Delohery did his first tribute art work in memory of him. This was just meant to be one personal piece at the time but it turned into five tribute exhibitions.
The first was held at Friars Gate Theatre in Kilmallock in Limerick on October 1 (Richard's birthday) 2006 and ran until October 25 to coincide with the date of his passing.
The show was officially opened by his three sons, Jared, Jamie and Damian, while Richard's brother Bill and his long time friend Billy O'Reilly were also in attendance.
Delohery had one of the shows in Richard's old school, the Crescent College, opened by Richard;s sister-in-law Marie Harris. Another exhibition was held in St John's Arts Centre in Listowel, opened by Billy Keane, the son of the late John B Keane.
The Harris Family were very supportive from word go and I was I was greatly thankful and humbled by this. I first heard of Richard's passing while I was on the phone to my Mum, just before I boarded a flight back from Munich in October 2002 after being on a residency there. I was deeply saddened and felt that Richard, having been such a force of life while alive, left quite a vacuum with his passing, he added.
When the International Richard Harris Film Festival organisers, Rob Gill and Eleanor McSherry, contacted Thomas about a possible Richard Harris Festival for Limerick, he made contact with Richard's sons. Jared Harris had mentioned to him back in 2006 that he would love a film festival to be held in the city in his Dad's honour.
He was asked if he would create an original artwork of Richard for the festival, based on an old photograph favoured by the Harris family. Delohery said he was delighted and honoured to be asked and was quite relieved when the family saw and loved the finished image.
Delohery will be in attendance for the gala opening night of the festival. It is wonderful to see this event up and running, he concluded.
Harris art in Australia
LIMERICK artist Thomas Delohery is among a group of artists exhibiting work in a Melbourne show this October.
Delohery, originally from Clare but an Ennis Road resident for many years, will exhibit two pieces he created in tribute to the late Richard Harris in the 4 Walls Gallery on Melbourne's Franklin Street.
The pieces are How Will the World Speak My Name and Richard Harris in Conversation in Limerick, which was first exhibited in Harris' old haunt of Charlie St George's in 2009.
The Clare Champion
A life of revolution on show in Melbourne
CLARE artist Thomas Delohery's solo exhibition on the revolutionary Che Guevara will open in Melbourne this week.
Thomas Delohery, who hails from O'Callaghan's Mills, Has had 41 solo shows to date spanning from Ireland, London, Germany, Canada and onto Australia, where he has been living since July 2010.
His latest solo exhibition will be in For Walls in 34 Franklin Street and this is a show of visual studies focused on Che Guevara.
This will be the first and only venue where he will be exhibiting this body of work and the exhibit is entitled Che the Man and the Internationalist.
It will be officially opened by Pedro Monzon, the Cuban Ambassador to Australia on July 6 and it will run until July 29.
Speaking about this body of work, Thomas explains, In my painted and drawn studies of Che, I tried to see the man and not just the legend.
Holocaust exhibition to be opened by Nazi camp survivor
By Louise McBride
THE SUNDAY BUSINESS POST
66-year-old survivor of a Nazi concentration camp will open an exhibition of Holocaust paintings by artist Thomas Delohery on Thursday. The exhibition runs in the Toradh Gallery, Ashbourne, Co. Meath, until May 29.
Zoltan Zinn-Collis, who was born the former Czechoslovakia, was found by an Irish doctor in the German concentration camp of Bergen Belson at the end of the war, close to death from typhoid and tuberculosis.
Zinn-Collis, who survived and later adopted by the doctor, had watched his mother die in the arms of his seven-year-old sister, Edith, on the day the camp was liberated in 1945.
The exhibition, which includes oil pastels, watercolours and ink paintings, depicts scenes from the Polish concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau and the German camps of Dachau and Flossenburg.
Delohery, who has visited most of the Nazi concentration camps, called his exhibition Man-Made to show that humans were responsible for the Holocaust.
Forget about monsters and good verus evil - at the end of the day, human beings were behind the concentration camps, said Delohery. It's something most people don't want to accept. The more you look into the Holocaust, the more you find it has resonance with the here and now - there are always extreme sides to human nature.
Delohery, from Clare, said he hoped his exhibition would allow people to experience a journey through the concentration camps and show how nature has taken over the camps.
Life still goes on in these capms and nature has taken back what should never have been at all, said Delohery. I'm trying to show the beauty of these places but with the sense of history pushing through. Although these places are beautiful now, you're never never let forget that there's something not quite right.
Zinn-Collis, who lives in Athy, Co. Kildare, is married and has four daughters.
A look at the horrors of Holocast life through art
by Colette Sheridan
CLARE-BASED artist Thomas Delohery, whose exhibition of Holocaust paintings opens tonight in Ennis, admits that people are funny about the fact that my work is for sale.
He said the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland expressed relief when Delohery told him that he doesn't make a living from his art.
I never got into this thinking in terms of euros and pounds. It tends to be artists that buy my work. They see the art in it but there's more to it than that, said Delohery, who lives in O'Callaghan's Mills and teaches for a living.
His exhibition, which will be officially opened by Limerick poet Mark Whelan, is called Habit irh verstanden? (Have you understood?)
It consists of 18 pieces relating to the Holocaust with some very direct links to the camps in the former Yugoslavia of 10 or more years ago.
While studying art at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin in the late 1980's, Delohery attended a media course where he was shown clips from war zones all over the world, from Vietnam to the Congo. It had a profound influence on his work.
Later, while continuing his studies at the University of Ulster, Delohery became preoccupied with the human figure in extreme situations of war and violence. He painted pieces about the war in the former Yugoslavia as well as the rise in neo-Nazism.
In 1997, he was given a bursary to travel anywhere in Europe that might influence his work and found himself instinctively drawn to Poland where he visited Auschwitz, Birkenau and Stutthof.
My work from then until now has been solely about the Holocaust.
The Arts Council recently awarded him a Travel and Mobility Award which enabled him to visit Israel for a month.
While there, Delohery met a woman called Olga who, with her twin sister, was experimented on by Josef Mengele, known as the Angel of Death.
Olga, now in her 70's, referred to Mengele as Uncle Josef and spoke about his good looks and pleasant personality.
Delohery is intrigue by all aspects of survivors' experieneces.
The sisters no longer speak to each other. As Olga points out, they went through hell together but now they don't even talk.
Sitting down and talking to survivors like Olga gives you the human side of the story.
The 33-year-old artist hasn't succumbed to being terrorised about mankind's capacity for barbarity.
We're all human. Let's find a connection and get on with living he said.
artreview Irish Examiner
By Alannah Hopkin
HORRIFIC in the Extreme is Thomas Delohery's exhibitionat the Bourn Vincent Gallery in the University of Limerick, his sixteenth solo show.
Delohery paints images of the Holocaust, hoping to restore individual faces to the millions who died in the concentration camps of Europe.
Just Any Couple, a series of three paintings, is a half-length portrait of an apparently ordinary couple in overcoats. The background, dramatic whorls of bright colour, contrasts with the greyness of the figures. What is so moving is the very ordinariness of the couple, who are to die in such terrible circumstances, Horrific in the Extreme, as the show's title reminds us. Since 2001, Delohery has used travel awards and his own resources to visit the sites of many of the concentration camp museums and memorials.
In 2002 he spent four weeks on a residency in Schwandorf, Germany. Photos of his work are in the archive of Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, and next year he shows in the Holocaust Museum in Florida.
Delohery is also technically a superbly accomplished artist. His use of oil pastel is much admired by other artists, including Mick O'Dea, Eamon O'Kane, David Crone and John Shinnors. Shinnors says of Delohery: One thing that is hugely evident is that he is a marvellous draftsman, and he is able to pull off these images that evoke cruelty and repression. It is the handling of his medium that I admire, his handling of oil pastel, a very tricky medium.
Delohery works on paper, in a combination of watercolour, ink and oil pastel, often in series, returning again and again to the same image, whose starting point is usually a photograph taken in the camps, examining it from different angles, or on different scales.
In parts two and four of the Dachau series Delohery takes his individualisation to new extremes by observing the back of a man's head from different angles. In the five-part Silent Endless Scream series, the intensity of Delohery's repetitive observation of a face leads to an image that is almost abstract. The nine-part To Burn series is built up from a series of small, gestural marks whose intensity recalls Van Gogh.
Delohery's work successfully revives our sense of horror at evil past and present, by giving it a human face, while it avoids sentimentality by his controlling technical mastery.
review Irish Examiner.
No Voice. Thomas Delohery. The Excel Centre. Tipperary.
AT first, it seems odd for a young artist (born 1971) to work with images of the Holocaust. Suspicious minds might ask if it is just an easy way to attract attention. But in the case of Thomas Delohery, this is clearly no gimmick.
Delohery, whose exhibition No Voice is at the Excel Centre, Tipperary until September 1 and at the Signal Arts Centre, Bray, from September 10, has produce a serious body of very convincing work.
Photographs of his work are kept in Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, in an on-going archive of work by artists from all over the world dealing with the Holocaust.
From left to right, as the 26 pieces on show progress from mass executions to liberation. The Shot Before (Parts one to Six) are based on a photograph of a group of Jewish women in the Ukraine, waiting to be shot and thrown into a mass grave.
Delohery takes photographs as a starting point, a theme on which to improvise. Here he seizes on a woman whose hand is tidying her hair for the camera.
I intend to give these black and white images of the past, voices, colour and a contemporary feel, so that people today can relate to them on a more personal level and think again about what happened, explains Delohery.
Another theme is the beauty of the camps' locations, amid scenic forests, and the contradiction with the horrifying events that took place. All Along the Watchtower catches the beauty of dark blue evening against barbed wire and guard tower. This is a serious and highly accomplished exhibition.
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