Belfast artist Daniel Dowling never fails to surprise and entertain with his paintings and his current exhibition at Cultúrlann, Falls Road is no exception.
Firstly it’s a visual diary of his 1000 kilometre walk across the Spanish Meseta, secondly it was a journey through his life, coming to terms with the past and, he says, finding his identity at 62 years of age. It’s an intriguing story that links the 14 art works depicting the landscapes and his discovery of links between the Celtic and Spanish culture.
“Back in the mists of time, the Milesians, a people from northern Spain invaded and occupied Ireland bringing with them their Celtic culture and language.” And so began a mystic and fascinating story in watercolour, oil and pencil on paper. Almost out of place is the large scale work showing shoppers walking along Donegall Square West, their bags overflowing, stern looks on their faces. “That’s the baggage we all carry.”
On his journey he took the path of the ancient Celts following the ley lines to Finisterre, Spanish for the end of the world.
“They made these journeys to examine and explore their concept of reality. They walked to the very edge of what they thought was a flat earth and peered over the edge into the abyss. Like them as I walked I was able to look back on my life and examine the baggage.”
One painting depicts a ventriloquist doll’s head, one quarter of the scull is open showing little people slaving away inside. “My parents wallpapering my brain and so my outlook on life,” he explained. “I now know I can wallpaper my own life thanks to that walk and the chance to steep myself in the history and culture of the country and the opportunity to put my experience on canvass.”
Runs until end of December. Contact 028 9096 4180