Statewatch News online: Drawing Support 3: Murals and Transition in the North of Ireland

Drawing Support 3: Murals and Transition in the North of Ireland
by Bill Rolston

During the past three decades of political conflict in the North of Ireland, murals have been a highly visible part of the political scene. Having charted their development in two best-selling books – Drawing Support: Murals in the North of Ireland (1992) and Drawing Support 2: Murals of War and Peace (1996) – Bill Rolston now brings the story up to date.

The 114 photographs and ten pages of text in this latest book cover the developments in mural painting between 1996 and the present. The period has been one of a live, if at times precarious, peace process. Republican murals responded in a number of ways: dropping paramilitary references except in memorial murals, and frequently commenting on progress – or the lack of it – in the peace process. They have also continued to represent themes that were their hallmark since the 1980s: electoral campaigns, opposition to state repression, Irish history and mythology, and references to political struggles against colonialism and repression elsewhere in the world.

Loyalist murals, on the contrary, became for some years increasingly dominated by paramilitary imagery and made few direct comments to current political events and issues. There has been some change in welcome years with the appearance of a number of murals on historical themes – including World War 1 – and murals on the theme of Ulster Scots language, culture and history.

Finally, the book contains a number of photographs of murals painted by loyalist and republican prisoners inside Long Kesh. With the release of these prisoners by July 2000, the murals were painted out.

Details: 60 pages, with 114 photographs, paperback. ISBN 1- 900960-23-0. Price: £11.99. Free postage for sales to Europe and surface mail for the rest of the world. Airmail option for rest of the world.

Order direct from the publisher: Beyond the Pale Publications

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