Milwaukee Irish Fest Summer School Instructors
Tom Kelly and Kevin Hasson The Bogside Arists
Teaching C04: The Bogside Artists
The Bogside Artists first began working together in 1993 to document the events surrounding the Northern Ireland Troubles. With supplies donated from local residents, they painted several murals on the walls of Rossville Street buildings commemorating the Battle of Bogside and Bloody Sunday. From 1994 to 2008, they painted a total of twelve murals on this street in the Bogside, which they named "The People's Gallery.' The People's Gallery spans the entire length of Rossville Street, which runs through the centre of the Bogside. It is a unique visual display – an entire street devoted to the history in art form of over three decades of political conflict in the province as it affected the city and it occupies no less than four pages in the Lonely Planet.
The gallery has never been promoted either by the local council or by any other body including the tour bodies or arts bodies many of which are run by Sinn Féin. It was in the Bogside on 30 January 1972 that 13 civilians were killed by British Army paratroopers in the Bloody Sunday disturbances (an additional civilian died later). The murals were officially inaugurated in August 2007 and an additional mural dedicated to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and retired leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, John Hume was completed in 2008.
The Bogside Artists have exhibited their work widely in various cities, including Boston, Sydney, Brisbane, Chicago, London and Washington, D.C. They have painted a number of other works, most notably a mural of Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington D.C. In September 2011 they painted a mural for the town of Vordernberg Austria on the controversial theme of the New World Order. More recently they completed a mural for Europe's City of Culture Maribor, Slovenia that was unveiled by the Dalai Lama. They see their work as humanitarian and human as "men speaking to men" ( Tom Kelly, spokesman) and have little time or interest in contemporary art. "All real art is contemporary as it has its origins in the truthful state of mind which is timeless".
In addition to their work as muralists, the Bogside Artists also conducted numerous art workshops throughout the years with local Catholic and Protestant children to promote cross-community understanding.
They were also featured in many documentaries What You See Is What You Get and Window on the West, etc.