Between 1994 and 2008, a trio of mural painters painted a total of 12 murals stretching the entire length of Rossville Street in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland. With art supplies donated by local residents, the 12 murals – which they named The People’s Gallery – depicted the events surrounding sectarian violence and civil rights protests in Northern Ireland during the time known as ‘The Troubles’.
The Bogside area of Derry was a focal point for key events during The Troubles, including the Battle of the Bogside and Bloody Sunday in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1993, when Kevin Hasson and brothers Tom and William Kelly began The People’s Gallery, there was still no end to the conflict in sight. It wasn’t until 1998 when a peace agreement was finally reached that the process of reconciliation could truly begin.
The murals depict the violent reality of The Troubles, yet also capture the spirit of hope for peace and reconciliation. For the trio, the murals were created to give a voice to the community.
Kevin, Tom and William continue to spread their message and have travelled to cities across the world to paint their murals of peace and reconciliation. They also continue to run art workshops with local Catholic and Protestant children in Derry, promoting cross community understanding.
Bogside Artists, ‘Peace’, 2004. This mural was completed on July 30, 2004 and was unveiled by the then Mayor of Derry. It is situated on Rossville Street in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland.
Bogside Artists, ‘Rioter’, 2001. This mural was started in August 2001 and is situated on Rossville Street in the Bogside area of Derry. The scene depicted is typical of many riots that happened in Bogside from 1969 and throughout the early 1970s.
This post is an excerpt from ‘The City Speaks’ exhibition.