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The Socialist Realist Art of Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin

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Making Cents: Life Below the Bottom Rung

Making Cents: Life Below the Bottom Rung

 

 

 

A series of oil paintings examining the daily existence of people in the worst working and living conditions in the global economy.

 

 

 

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Mustard Gas

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Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin

 

Biography

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin (pronounced Kee-veen O Cree-awn) is an Irish artist who has exhibited widely around Ireland. His work consists of drawings and paintings and features cityscapes of Dublin, images based on Irish history and other work with social/political themes.

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Caoimhghin studied at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin where he obtained a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art. He subsequently undertook post-graduate study in the interdisciplinary field of Cultural Studies in Dublin City University obtaining a Masters degree in Communications and Cultural Studies. Caoimhghin is an Irish speaker and holds a PhD in Language and Politics which is published under the title Language from Below: The Irish Language, Ideology and Power in 20th-Century Ireland. He completed work in Dublin City University as a Post-Doctoral researcher on the TRASNA project (a web-based database of references to translations of Irish literature globally).

 

He currently works as a part-time lecturer on aesthetics and the history of Irish art for Boston University in Dublin while doing research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world. These paintings can be viewed country by country on his blog at http://gaelart.blogspot.com/.

 

His interests vary widely from Irish history, history of art, Gaeilge, philosophy, world cinema, photography, Asian cuisine, travel, walking, swimming, listening to Irish traditional, world and classical music, teaching Set and Ceilí dancing and researching Ó Croidheáin family history. Caoimhghin is currently learning Spanish while concentrating his time on a new series of oil paintings examining the daily existence of people making a living in the worst working conditions in the global economy.

 

 

Beathaisnéis Chaoimhghin Uí Chroidheáin

 

Is ealaíontÓir éireannach é Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin a bhfuil a chuid saothair curtha ar taispeáint go forleathan timpeall na héireann aige. Is le holadhathanna is mÓ a bhíonn Caoimhghin ag péinteáil, agus tá sé ag gabháil do shraith de chathairdhreacha a bhfuil saol sÓisialta agus polaitiúil na héireann léirithe iontu faoi láthair. Is sa Choláiste Náisiúnta Ealaíne agus Deartha i mBaile átha Cliath a rinne sé a chuid staidéir mar ar bhain sé céim Bhaitsiléir Ealaíon (OnÓracha) sa Mhínealaín amach. Chuaigh sé i mbun staidéar iarchéime dá éis sin i réimse idirdhisciplíneach Staidéar an Chultúir in Ollscoil Chathair Bhaile átha Cliath mar ar bhain sé céim Mháistreachta sa Chumarsáid agus i Staidéar an Chultúir mar aon le céim dochtúireachta sa Léann Teanga agus Polaitíochta amach. Is i nDomhnach Bat i gContae Bhaile átha Cliath atá cÓnaí air faoi láthair.

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Immigrant

Immigrant

Oil on canvas

50cm x 60cm / 19.7 in x 23.6 in

 

The Civil Guard takes charge of a drowned man in Santa Pola, Alicante, as the search for his companions continued. The body, which was of an Algerian immigrant, was found 15 miles from the island of Tabarca, Alicante, Spain.

[El Pais 13 August 2010]

 

 

 

 

 

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Garment Factory India

G

G

GARMENT FACTORYGra

India

Oil on canvas

150cm x 150cm / 59.1 in x 59.1 in

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Hommage á Haiti

Hommage à Haiti

Oil on canvas

150cm x 150cm / 59.1 in x 59.1 in

 

When French commissioner Léger Felicité Sonthonx arrived on the island [of Haiti] in 1791, he faced a full scale rebellion by the white aristocracy and had to use an army of local slaves to put them down. The leader of this army would become one of the greatest generals in history. This self-educated Haitian General’s name was Toussaint Louverture. After putting down the landowners, Louverture liberated the entire slave population. Louverture and the Black Jacobins successfully defeated the French occupiers and Haiti became the first free black nation in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

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Diamond Panning Sierra Leone

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I particularly like this series of portraits of Irish Revolutionary leaders, called Lost Dreams:

If you run your mouse under the pics, you can see their titles - I don't know why that is happening.

Lost Dreams

Series of Irish historical portraits

 

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Hugh O Neill (c1540-1616)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

60cm x 80cm

Sold

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Eoghan Rua O Neill (c1590-1649)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

50cm x 60cm

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Wolfe Tone (1763-1798)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

60cm x 80cm

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Lost Dream

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Arthur O'Connor (1765-1852)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

60cm x 70cm

 

 

 

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Robert Emmet (1780-1803)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

50cm x 60cm

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John Mitchel (1815-1875)

Oil

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Thomas Davis (1814-1845)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

50cm x 60cm

 

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Charles Gavin Duffy (1816-1903)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

50cm x 80cm

 

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Michael Davitt (1846-1906)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbh

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Thomas Clarke (1857-1916)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

60cm x 70cm

 

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James Connolly (1868-1916)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

60cm x 70cm

 

 

 

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Patrick Pearse (1879-1916)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

60cm x 70cm

 

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Eamonn Ceannt (1881-1916)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

60cm x 70cm

 

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Sean Mac Diarmada (1884-1916)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

60cm x 70cm

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Thomas MacDonagh (1878-1916)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

60cm x 70cm

 

 

 

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Countess Markiewicz (1868-1927)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

60cm x 70cm

 

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Roger Casement (1864-1916)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

60cm x 70cm

Sold

 

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Frank Ryan (1902-1944)

Oil on canvas / Ola ar chanbhás

60cm x 90cm

 

 

 

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Máirtín Ó Cadhain (1906 - 1970)

Acrylic and graphite on card / Aicrileach agus grafít ar chárta

20cm x 30cm

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More from the Making Cents series:

 

 

 

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Aerial Bombardment

Oil on canvas

150cm x 150cm / 59.1 in x 59.1 in

 

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977

Art 51. - Protection of the civilian population

1. The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations. To give effect to this protection, the following rules, which are additional to other applicable rules of international law, shall be observed in all circumstances. 2. The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited. 3. Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this section, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.

4. Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are: (a) those which are not directed at a specific military objective; (B) those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or © those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by this Protocol; and consequently, in each such case, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction.

 

http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/WebART/470-750065?OpenDocument

 

 

 

 

 

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Interrogation

Oil on canvas

150cm x 150cm / 59.1 in x 59.1 in

 

United Nations Convention Against Torture defines torture as:

Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.

 

http://www.hrweb.org/legal/cat.html

 

 

 

 

 

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Aftermath of Suicide Bomber,

Morgue in Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Oil on canvas

150cm x 150cm / 59.1 in x 59.1 in

 

A man looking for relatives at a morgue in Rawalpindi in Pakistan after a suicide bombing in which at least 35 people were killed and dozens more wounded in November 2009. Soldiers and civilians had gathered outside a branch of the National Bank of Pakistan to collect their monthly salaries and pension payments when the bomb exploded.

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Kibera, Nairobi,

Kenya

Oil on canvas

150cm x 150cm / 59.1 in x 59.1 in

Kibera is the second largest urban slum in Africa (after Soweto in South Africa) with a population estimated at between 600,000 and 1.2 million inhabitants. It is located in southwest Nairobi, about 5 kilometers from the city centre. Improving the situation for the people who live there has been beset by problems such as petty and serious crime, difficult vehicle access, and the lack of building foundations as much of the ground is composed of refuse and rubbish.

 

 

 

 

 

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Favela, Rio de Janeiro

Brazil

Oil on canvas

150cm x 150cm / 59.1 in x 59.1 in

 

Many favelas in Rio de Janeiro are shanty towns built up the side of hills with access only by stairs and narrow pathways. They are affected by landslides in heavy rain and their inhabitants regularly have to face the problems of drug wars and petty crime. Many were constructed in the 1970s when a construction boom attracted rural workers from poorer states in Brazil. It is estimated that about 19 per cent of Rio de Janeiro’s population is living in one of 600 favelas around the city.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dharavi Slum, Mumbai

India

Oil on canvas

150cm x 150cm / 59.1 in x 59.1 in

 

While Dharavi has been featured in films such as Danny Boyle's 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire, the difficulties such as sanitation issues, an inadequate water supply, overcrowding and poverty faced by people who live there are some of the worst in the world. It is estimated that around 1 million people live in Dharavi making it one of the largest slums in Asia.

 

 

 

 

 

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Soldering Circuit Boards

Toy factory Shantou, Guangdong, China

Oil on canvas

150cm x 150cm / 59.1 in x 59.1 in

 

Factory conditions in China have come under much criticism for issues such as subsistence wages, long working days, seven day weeks and illegal overtime hours. In some cases workers need permission to leave the factory grounds and live in cramped conditions sharing large dorms. Foreign investors, who have a huge presence in China, often violate the most fundamental human and worker rights. Opposition to such conditions can lead to being fired, or even arrest and imprisonment.

 

 

 

 

 

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Phone Recycling

Mumbai, India

Oil on canvas

150cm x 150cm / 59.1 in x 59.1 in

 

In many slums around Mumbai people worked in traditional industries such as pottery and textiles. Now there is a growing recycling industry processing waste from other parts of Mumbai. Many of these industries are carried out in one-roomed factories manufacturing products that are distributed globally. While there have been some projects set up to improve living conditions, Dharavi remains a source of cheap labor for local and foreign investors.

 

 

 

 

 

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Rubbish Dump Recycling

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Oil on canvas

150cm x 150cm / 59.1 in x 59.1 in

 

It is believed that over 3000 scavengers live and work around the Stung Meanchey municipal rubbish dump situated on the outskirts of Cambodia’s capital city Phnom Penh. Many of the scavengers are children who have to leave school to earn money for their families. They work up to 14 hours a day looking for glass, plastic, metal and any other materials which can be recycled. Fumes from burning rubbish, dirty needles, flies and truck accidents pose huge threats to the safety and health of the workers there.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ship Dismantling

Alang Shipyard, India

Oil on canvas

150cm x 150cm / 59.1 in x 59.1 in

 

Many ships such as supertankers, car ferries and container ships are dismantled on the beach at Alang in the state of Gujarat, on the west coast of India. Thousands of people work in this industry and millions of tons of steel and other materials are recovered and then sold as scrap. However, it is a very dangerous business and the process maims and kills many workers each year and the shoreline is contaminated with oily waste, asbestos, toxic paint and other toxic materials.

 

 

 

 

 

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War Triptych

After World War II the world split into two large geopolitical blocs and spheres of influence with contrary views on government and the politically correct society:

1 - The bloc of democratic-industrial countries within the American influence sphere, the "First World".

2 - The Eastern bloc of the communist-socialist states, the "Second World".

3 - The remaining three-quarters of the world's population, states not aligned with either bloc were regarded as the "Third World."

(http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/third_world_countries.htm)

The First World War was to a large extent the war of the First World re-carving global markets with the intention of obtaining a greater share for themselves. Trench warfare was the dominant form with soldiers going over the top in waves of attacks or risking being shot by their own officers if refusing to do so.

Although we don't hear the term so much now, the Second World referred to the Soviet Union. In their desire to defeat the Soviet Union politically and economically the capitalist powers supported and funded the development of munitions factories in Germany in the hope that Germany would become a springboard for an attack on the Soviet Union. This the Nazis did do eventually with a massive array of tanks and soldiers in a war that cost the lives of 15 million soviet citizens.

It has been argued that the Third World war is actually upon us though the superpowers have chosen to fight by proxy rather than head on. In some cases direct intervention has been employed provoking local reaction in the form of car bombs, the most recent weapon in the asymmetric warfare between the weak and the strong.

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