NLI exhibition ‘Living with Pride: Photographs from the Christopher Robson Collection’ launched

The National Library of Ireland launched ‘Living with Pride: Photographs from the Christopher Robson Collection’ exhibition, which documents LGBTQ+ life and activism in Ireland.

Image: Christopher Robson / National Library of Ireland

The National Library of Ireland (NLI) previously announced the launch of their ‘Living with Pride’ programme of LGBTQ+ events. The programme of events is running between March and November 2021, with most of the events taking place this summer. 

Yesterday, Wednesday June 9, NLI launched their major photographic exhibition ‘Living with Pride: Photographs from the Christopher Robson Collection.’ This exhibition is a celebration of the life and work of activist and photographer Christopher Robson. 

Christopher Robson was a central figure in Irish LGBTQ+ activism. He played a key role in the decriminalisation of homosexuality, and was pivotal in the introduction of civil partnership and the enactment of State equality legislation.  

During his many decades of LGBTQ+ activism, Christopher also took thousands of photographs, many capturing the evolution of Dublin Pride’s growth in size, enthusiasm, confidence, and colour.

Robson, who sadly passed in 2013, recorded decades of Irish LGBTQ+ life. In 2015, his civil partner Bill Foley donated over 2,000 of Christopher’s photographs taken between 1992-2007 to the National Library collections, ensuring LGBTQ+ representation in Ireland’s history. 

After Christopher died, Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, said: “Christopher made an immeasurable contribution to Irish society, believing as he did in the inherent freedom and dignity of each and every person. He gave unstintingly of his time and immense talent to promote and achieve equality in Ireland.”

Upon seeing a sneak preview of the exhibition, co-curator of the Living with Pride events, Tonie Walsh said: “the first thing that hit me was the huge scale and riotous colour of Robson’s prints.”

Christopher was present at several major events in the history of LGBTQ+ rights. It is noted in the exhibition that “whether [he was] recording police violence in Paris, angry protests in New York, or [using] humour to fight prejudice here in Ireland, Christopher’s photographs take us inside these events and ensure that we recognise their importance.” 

The exhibition is being held both at the NLI’s National Photographic Archive, located at Meeting House Square in Temple Bar, and online through this link

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