Mark O'Kelly | Johannesburg | 2005 | Oil on linen | 117 x 173 cm
As we enter a new period of hope of a brighter future that lies ahead, we are sharing selection of works from the Arts Council Collection, under the theme of ‘The Artist's Journey’. Highlighting 10 works made between 1977 and 2013 that explore places near
to home and those further away. Artists have always captured the landscape, near and far, and we hope the selection demonstrates the beautiful vistas created by artists in Ireland, and abroad.
Here, Mark O’Kelly, whose work is showcased under the ‘The Artist's Journey’ theme, tells us more about the featured artwork. Explore this and more from the Arts Council collection at instagram.com/artscouncilireland/
Johannesburg was painted in 2004 and was a post 9/11 image that I cultivated through a series of translations, deletions and reversals. The painting and its title was of great political significance for me in the development of key concepts in my practice.
I was painting a modern African city whilst imagining New York City – NYs recent history in the post-millennial conflict, the disappearance of the twin towers from the New York skyline and also New York’s original Dutch Colonial place-name of New
Amsterdam. I have never visited the city of Johannesburg but I have painted images of it a number of times as if in a parallel reality, or a dream, as seen and pictured from the air. Johannesburg is a painting about politics and trade, about globalisation
and the interconnectedness of the world, it is a work about colonialism and post-colonialism and about these contested histories of modernism and the continuing reverberations of these histories in the everyday images and events we internalise to
orientate our consciousness of the world’s wide horizons beyond our locality.
Since 1962, the Arts Council has been buying art from working artists. The Collection that evolved tells the story of modern and contemporary Irish visual art in a unique and fascinating way. Today the Collection continues to grow and it is comprised
of more than 1,200 artworks including sculpture, painting, performance, print, video, installation, photography and other works many of which are on display in public spaces all over Ireland for people to experience and enjoy first hand.
The artworks being added to the Collection each year are by artists who live and work in communities both across Ireland and internationally, continuing a proud history of the Arts Council purchasing excellent and ambitious art, and it reflects the immense
quality of visual arts practice today. You can find out more at: www.artscouncil.emuseum.com