Today was a nice day in Stormont, the last before a break usually are, but this one was particularly nice due to the small but poignant launch of Robert Ballagh's 7 Signatories art series, commissioned by Sinn Féin.
Robert is a well known and well renowned artist here at home and overseas. He is also very open about his politics, much of which is expressed in many of his piece's.
Along at today's event was another Irish artist Brian O'Doherty, formally known as Patrick Ireland. Brian is from Ireland but settled in Nua Eabhrach/NYC in the early 60's. Following the events of Bloody Sunday in 1972 Brian wanted to express solidarity with the Irish people in struggle and vowed to sign all of his art with the name 'Patrick Ireland'. Recently he quite literally buried the persona of Patrick Ireland due to the strides made in the Irish peace process.
deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness launched Robert Ballagh's artwork at today's event. He spoke of the revolutionary document that was and is the 1916 Proclamation. He urged people to take the document down from the many walls that it adorns in homes throughout the Nation and to read the words, to understand it and to work to achieve it's aims.
We were joined by a number of other Sinn Féin MLA's and Minister's as well as our MEP for the Six Counties Bairbre de Brún and a number of republicans and party activists.
It was a lovely launch and I was delighted to be involved with it in a very small and modest way.
Interestingly, Brian O'Doherty is also here on a mission to create a work of art welcoming people to the Gaeltacht Quarter in Béal Feirste, I look forward to seeing that!
Go néirí leat Brian!
PS. as always with Republicans there's a funny story! Myself, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, Robert Ballagh, Brian O'Doherty along with my brother Seán were all within seconds of disaster as a power cut at Stormont kicked in a fraction of a second before the lift door's closed on us trapping us in darkness inside! Thankfully Bobby Ballagh was able to prize the doors open for us, we decided then we would just walk to the canteen for some lunch!!
You can also find out more about the artwork at http://www.sinnfeinbookshop.com/