Irish artist pays homage to gay rights campaigners

Stephen Doyle

A young gay artist from Cork City has immortalised some of Ireland’s promient gay rights campaigners on the anniversary of Ireland’s historic passing of the marriage equality referendum.


The portraits were created by 21 year-old Cork College of Art and Design student, Stephen Doyle to provide an insight into the drive underpinning each of their achievements.

According to the artist: ‘This series of portraits is my own personal homage and commemoration to those who have made such a substantial contribution to equal rights in the LGBT community in this country over the past 40 years. Without these couragous people who fought to make their voices heard, thousands of people would still have conflicting thoughts between self and society. Their efforts have succeeded in challenging our country’s – and indeed the world’s – ideology of a heteronormative lifestyle, and each of us is the better for it.’


Senator David Norris
Senator David Norris

Senator David Norris’s portrait is composed in an array of colour accompanied by two over-imposed lamps from Trinity College and Dublin Castle, symbolising his years of sacrifice bringing gay rights to fruition in Ireland.

According to Senator Norris: “Stephen’s efforts are a clear sign of the effect our work has been on the next generation of gay people in Ireland. It is very comforting and reassuring after the long journey for equality. Not only are they symbolic of the great deal of effort that went into changing our nation’s perceptions of the LGBT community, but hopefully an indicator of how young people will feel more comfortable with themselves in the decades to come.”


Walsh Tonie
Tonie Walsh

GCN founder Tonie Walsh’s portrait is set in a natural environment in a nod to the first Dublin Pride march he was present for in 1983.


Healy Grainne
Grainne Healy

Yes Equality Co-director, Grainne Healy’s piece is to resemble her relentless work ethic during the campaign last year. The work echoes this by the multi-layering of the paint and re-working the form.


Kennedy Darren
Darren Kennedy

TV presenter, Darren Kennedy’s work piece questions the option of having children as a gay person and the extra obstacles that are in place to have that desired home life. Hence why the figure appears to be fading into a domesticated background.


The portraits will be on display at the K-Fest music and arts festival in Killorglin, Co.Kerry, from June 3 to 6 before before being individually presented to each of the sitters.


© 2016 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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