Glasgow: exhibition recalls the Irish Famine

The exhibition Famine: New Works by Peter Howson, commissioned by the Archdiocese to recall the Great Irish Famine is underway at St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art in Glasgow.

Some of the proceeds of the sales of paintings will be donated to St Mary’s Parish in the Calton area of Glasgow, the spiritual home of Irish emigres who arrived in Scotland in the mid 19th century.

Archbishop Conti said: "The famine which blighted Ireland in the middle of the 19th century was more than a natural disaster. It left an indellible mark on the history and psyche of the Irish people, a mark which is still felt today.

One of its consequences was mass migration across the Irish Sea, leading to a cultural change in the life of Scotland, as Irish men, women and children arrived in search of work and betterment, fleeing the tragedy of famine in their native land.

"While academics and writers have revisited the Famine period with some regularity, it has not been so frequently the object of the artist’s gaze. And so following discussions with Peter Howson, an artist for whom I have enormous respect, the Archdiocese has commissioned a series of works which both illustrate the historical reality of famine-blighted Ireland circa 1850 but also speak of the continuing horror of famine in today’s world, where, alas, hunger continues to stalk humanity.

"Peter Howson’s work is at its best, I believe, when it illustrates the process of redemption through suffering. I know the artist has found this subject matter to be a rich vein of inspiration, offering him the chance to explore the drama of human suffering in both an historical and spiritual way.

"The results are outstanding examples of how art can speak to peoples of all backgrounds, teaching, perhaps even preaching a visual sermon on issues as diverse as human dignity,the family, justice and the providence of God. These paintings are epic depictions of an epic set of circumstances. They are also vivid, inspirational and magnificent works of art. I commend this exhibition to all". 

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