The ire of the Irish

Egalitarianism: Irish artist Brendon Deacy and Irish Ambassador to Australia Noel White open Síoraí at M.A.D.E. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric
Egalitarianism: Irish artist Brendon Deacy and Irish Ambassador to Australia Noel White open Síoraí at M.A.D.E. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

IT MIGHT have been many years since the Eureka Rebellion, but the passion and anger to fight injustice are as prevalent in our community as ever.

The anger that fuelled the Rebellion was no doubt the same rage that spurred the Irish Easter Uprising 100 years ago, in 1916. The Irish Republicans wanted an end to British rule – a similar sentiment running through the veins of the Ballarat miners in 1854.

Now, an art exhibition at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka is celebrating those historical connections between Australia and Ireland.

Launched last weekend by Irish artist Brendon Deacy and Irish Ambassador to Australia Noel White, Síoraí is a tribute to Irish revolutionary James Fintan Lalor, whose brother Peter Lalor led the Eureka Stockade.

The exhibition has travelled to Australia in a move funded by the Irish government, as it aims to mark the centenary of the Easter Uprising.

Deacy has created 10 paintings using oils mixed with debris that he collected from Tenakill House, where Lalor was born. To emphasise Lalor’s contemporary relevance, Deacy has presented his words verbatim in the style of Irish political posters of the time next to depictions of present-day Ireland.

M.A.D.E director Jane Smith said the Lalor family had been “fighting injustice” since the time of English leader Oliver Cromwell.

“James Fintan Lalor was very important in leading the young Irish movement back in the 1840s. The sentiments and the values around fighting injustice came from the Lalors as part of the Stockade and became part of the narrative around the Irish Easter Uprising in 1916,” she said.

“Irish Ambassador to Australia, Noel White...talked about how important those values were and how they still resonate today. All he things people were fighting for 100 years ago are still relevant today.”

Ms Smith cited Brexit as a modern example where people felt marginalised from formal decision-making processes.

The exhibition will continue until September 11.