Created by Amelia Abdellatif, Alex French, and Stephanie Wilcoxen
Murals, as medium of art, operate in an interesting space in that they formulate narratives of historical moments. Because these murals are agents of interpolation, the narratives they create exist within a space that is engaged in both a historical and a fictional retelling. These murals must be aware of the possibility of multiple interpretations, as the medium allows for them to be viewed by many people. Although many of them seem to seek to memorialize and others attempt to commemorate, their intended messages are transformed at the moment they are received. Even though some messages in these murals are created in the moment that they are seen, the artists also push back against this by embedding the images with their own political leanings in an attempt to control the narratives new audiences are continually recreating.
We chose to look closer at the connection between Irish murals and Palestinian murals in part because they seem, at times, to be in dialogue with one another. As Bill Roston argues, “republicanism has from time to time been able to look around the world and imagine a connection to others who likewise experience imperialism, colonialism, and state repression or who struggle for national self-determination, independence, and socialism” (Rolston 448-9). Direct references to the struggle in Palestine have been made in Bogside, as when the “Free Derry” sign was altered to read “Free Gaza.” Likewise, Bobby Sands has been quoted on the Peace Wall. These political murals, in both Ireland and Palestine, become a way for artists to express their opinions in a way that is constructive rather than destructive.
By clicking one of the headings or the pictures below, you will be taken to a page that introduces one of the six themes we explore in depth. On these pages are images of three murals relating to that theme. Clicking on a specific image will take you to closer analysis of each mural. At the bottom of each theme page there is a link back to this main page. At the bottom of each mural analysis, there is a link back to the parent theme and to this page.
Tom Kelly: “After we painted the first mural we understood we had a story that desperately needed to be told. It was the story of our families, our friends, our relatives and ourselves and it needed telling in a way that might give some hint of truth and, at the same time, restore morale.”