Thursday, December 17, 2009


Ligoniel Amateur Boxing Club Portraits, 2007.

I was introduced to this boxing club by the guys who run the Safehouse Gallery and on my way to Belfast on the train that day, the usual images and preconceptions of 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland came to mind. But I wasn't interested in adding to a landscape of film, painting and literature that couldn't escape the images of violence and division from the past. It was my intention to create a body of work focusing on people who're making a difference in their community despite all the shit that goes on around them.

I photographed the boxers training and sparring in Ligoniel Amateur Boxing Club (it's been on the go since 1971 and has been funded by the boxers and the community around Ligoniel) late one Wednesday evening. Upon arriving I was welcomed in by Eddie, who stood in the doorway eclipsed in the stark boxing hall light, his hand, decked out in gold rings reached out to greet me and welcome me into a club he's been volunteering in for over thirty years.

The following day, I scoured the streets in different parts of Belfast for the signature yellow Ace Bates skips (he's the king of the Belfast skip world). I hoped that they might contain the detritus of the city; wood, metal and any other objects that told the cities history for me to paint on. I pulled pieces from skips in the Holy Land, the Shankill Road, the Lisburn Road and the Falls, then I hauled them home to the studio in Dublin to paint.


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