Showcase at Home 1999

21:21 Celebrating 21 Years of Irish Art Showcases at Home

It is 21 years since we hosted our first ‘Showcase at Home’ Exhibition in 1999 in Inchicore, Dublin 8. The impetus for the Showcase exhibition came from people saying  “I’d buy art but my home is tiny”.

The implication that art was only for people in big houses made me furious. Furious enough to host an annual exhibition in my tiny railway cottage. 

I had an old mark ll VW Golf which could fit up to 40 works of art once the seats folded down, and I sourced work from artists in Leinster and the South West in Cork/Limerick. Many of Ireland’s major artists took part, and the first exhibition featured work by: Gerald Davis, Mick O’Dea RHA, Martin Gale RHA, Siobhan Cuffe, Oliver Comerford, John Kelly, James Hanley RHA, Eamon Colman and many others. I worked part time with Gerald Davis at the Davis Gallery in 11 Capel Street, Dublin 1 and Gerald would rummage through his stores and pull out hidden gems many artists had forgotten he had! We hosted an exhibition weekend, with viewings from 8am to midnight Saturday and Sunday, with a closing party on the Sunday. 90% of the works sold, and I borrowed money from the credit union to pay the artists within two weeks (even though some of the buyers were on a post-dated cheque payment system – remember those!?).  The fun, the education, the craic, the sales and the goodwill was electric. Every year through various homes we hosted the Showcase gaining new graduate artists and buyers’ friends along the way.

To celebrate those 21 years I am writing 21 blogs featuring Irish artists and art which takes my breath away. I hope that you will come on the journey to learn about Irish art, the processes artists use to make it and the role it plays in the lives of the artists who make it.

I’ll start with some legacy artists who broke ground for their later counterparts in the early part of the Irish Republic. Read the first post ‘1:21’ about Harry Kernoff here.

If you have any questions, or would like to talk to me about the works or art in general, please get in touch.