Working with social and political themes that range from the local to the global, Irish artist and academic Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin (pronounced Kee-veen O Cree-awn) brings to light the chaos of our world through realistic paintings that often take on an abstract form. In his latest series, he gives us a survey of current events: from riots and revolutions to economic inequality and the consequences of climate change. Subjects include slums in Mumbai, ambulances in Gaza, demonstrations in Belarus, migrants on the Mediterranean shore…
Many of the images expose what, according to the artist, are the six ‘secret’ tactics of empire—strategies of change used by governments, usually covertly, to attain political or military ends through means not normally acceptable to the populace as a whole. These strategies are: (1) False Flag Attacks (2) Coercive Engineered Migration (3) Colour Revolutions (4) Humanitarian Intervention (5) Proxy Armies and (6) Fake News. See this article on the website Global Research for explanations.
Dr. Ó Croidheáin writes on his creative practice: “Art facilitates the creation of solidarity and awareness between peoples in struggle against common forces of oppression. At the same time, the process of making art is about developing forms of visual expression that raise social issues to higher levels of cultural significance.
“Following Sartre’s dictum that ‘to reveal is to change’, I have endeavoured to learn about the many dire situations people have found themselves in around the world and to make paintings that would in a sense ‘reveal’ these problems to those like myself who had never come across them before.
“The globalisation of the economy and the media has not led to more democracy but the concentration of power and wealth in fewer and fewer hands. It is in the gift of the culture producers (artists, writers, composers) to re-present and symbolically strengthen those on the ground fighting for social justice in many different and difficult situations.”
Dr. Ó Croidheáin studied at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin where he obtained a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art. He subsequently obtained a Master’s degree in Communications and Cultural Studies from Dublin City University which was followed by a PhD in Language and Politics. He is currently working on a new exhibition entitled “Making Cents: Life Below the Bottom Rung”, a series of oil paintings examining the daily existence of people making a living in the worst working conditions in the global economy.
Below you will find a selection from the geopolitical series. Check out the artist’s website for more paintings and elaborate notes.
Images used with permission.