Thomas Delohery
Born June 2nd, 1971
 
adress: Ennis Road, Limerick, Ireland
phone: 00353 (0)86 8975104
website : www.irish-art.com/thomasdelohery

Thomas Delohery is an ambitious young artist with a B.A. in Fine Art and a M.F.A. degree who has already got many exhibitions, awards and acknowledgement to his name. Most of his work deals with the Holocaust.
But being a great admirer of Richard Harris he created a serial of portraits (88 all together) depicting the great late actor. To learn more about what triggered those works of art read Tomís statement. For details about the exhibitions related to Richard Harris please visit our message board. Currently Tom is working as Art & Design Tutor in Moyross Probation Centre, Limerick.

Thomas Delohery - about myself

I did my first year of Art College at the National College of Art and Design. Then in 1990 I decided to continue my studies in Belfast at the University of Ulster. There I became preoccupied with the human figure in extreme situations of war and violence. I did various pieces about the Vietnam War, Cambodia's killing fields, the rise of neo-Nazism, the war in former-Yugoslavia, South Africa, etc, mostly large scale pieces in oils on canvas. Then in 1997 while in my second year of the M.F.A. course in Belfast, we were given £200 towards a plane ticket anywhere in Europe that we felt would influence our work. I chose Poland so as to see the concentration camps. While there I visited Auschwitz, Birkenau and Stutthof. The difference between this and my earlier work is that. for the first time I was actually able to experience the environments in person, to walk through the camps and see the reality and the scale of what went on. My work from then until the present day has been solely about the holocaust. In 2001 I was awarded an Art Flight by the Arts Council so that I could go and visit the former Gestapo headquarters and holding cells in Cologne. Then in 2002 I was chosen as the recipient of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre International Bursary for Schwandorf, Germany, for four weeks residency. While there I got to visit the camps of Flossenburg and Dachau. I also went to Nurnberg and visited the new Fascination and Terror Documentation Centre, the Zeppelin Field and the Zeppelin Tribune. I have both photographs and slides of my work, plus all the press relating to my shows included in an archive of Artists worldwide who deal with the holocaust in their work in YAD VASHEM, the Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority, Jerusalem, (File Ongoing). Last year I was awarded a Travel and Mobility Award from the Arts Council, which enabled me to go to Israel for four weeks. My proposal was kindly supported by Prof. Dermot Keogh (M.A., PhD, Head of History Department, University College, Cork) and Mrs. Hagar Lipkin (Former-Head of Cultural Affairs, Israeli Embassy, Dublin). While there I was given the opportunity to interview Holocaust survivors and-make important contacts. I was awarded a scholarship by Yad Vashem to do a two and a half week Holocaust Educators Course while in Jerusalem and also spent 13 days in the Artists Residence in Herzliya thanks to the Foreign Affairs Department in Israel. Recently I was awarded a Travel and Mobility Award to go to Poland and Lithuania for a two week seminar run by Yad Vashem, by the As Council of Ireland. The Seminar included visiting places like Ponary, the site of the mass graves of the Jews of Vilna, the 9th fort in Kovno, the Rudniki Forest to see the bunkers that housed Jewish partisans, Treblinka Death Camp, Majdanek, Belzec, Schindler's "Emalia" factory, Auschwitz I, Death camp Birkenau, The Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, remains of the Ghetto Wall in Warsaw, area of the former Ghetto - Baluti, Lupochwa - area of mass graves, Holocaust Museum - Vilna, Death Camp Sobibor and various Jewish Cemeteries and Synagogue's of interest. After the Seminar, I took it upon myself to travel to Prague so that I could visit Terezin. My proposal was kindly supported by Zoltan Zinn-Collis (Holocaust Survivor), Suzanne Bardgett (Project Director, Holocaust Exhibition, Imperial War Museum), Prof, Dermot Keogh (M.A, PhD, Head of History Department, University College Cork), Mikie Goldstein (Head of Cultural Affairs, Israeli Embassy, Dublin), Lynn Jackson (Holocaust Memorial Day Committee), Dick Roche T.D. (Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government), Sile De Valera T.D. (Minister of State for Education and Science) and Alannah Hopkin M.A. (Art Reviewer for the Irish Examiner and member of AICA (Ireland). Clare County Arts Office and County Council have been very supportive in the past, by awarding me an Artist's Support Grant to defray costs of an exhibition in 2001, 2002, 2004 and there again recently in 2005.

Artist's Statement

When Richard Harris passed away at the age of 72, on the 25th of October, 2002, there was, for me, a deadly silence and a lot of unanswered questions. How could somebody as large in life and stature as Richard Harris simply fade out of our existence? In life he seemed to rage against most things, even most people. There were some great highs and lows in his life, but always this constant struggle to succeed, some might argue, to gain approval. Richard Harris didn't come back to Limerick and Mount St. Lawrence to be buried or have his ashes thrown into the sea at his beloved Kilkee. His memorial service in Limerick City was hardly advertised if only just over 600 people turned up at it. Love him or hate him, there should have been more made of his passing. I was in Limerick City that weekend of his memorial service but I, like so many others, didn't know that it was on. Four years on, I feel that it is only now that I can get a chance to say goodbye to him properly, in a more fitting way, by having five Tribute Exhibitions to him; three in Limerick, one in Listowel and one to finish in his spiritual home of Kilkee. Richard reminded me of a man who wasn't happy with his lot, who always strove for more, for bigger and better things. Sometimes he succeeded, sometimes he missed the mark, but always, he struggled, wrestled and fought on. I think Richard was a good ambassador not only for Limerick and Ireland, but also for how one should approach life. He seemed to go at it headlong, with few, if any, apologies. He took all it had to offer, the good with the bad, and continued to struggle for more right up to the very end. He fought tooth and nail for he wanted and what he believed in. I think Richard Harris is an inspiration to all Irish people. He was the first serious Irish actor to penetrate the Hollywood scene. Finally, as his brother Bill Harris said to me, Irish actors could be taken seriously in the film industry and given more challenging roles, not just typecast in small bit-parts as priests, drunks and policemen. Richard comes across as a tormented spirit but with a unique and charging life force all his own. By his struggle, he made things a little easier for Irish screen legends like Gabriel Byrne and Liam Neeson, both of whom held him in high regard and have publicly credited him as being inspiring i h their lives and careers. Each one of these shows will be different in theme. The first one "Richard Harris. A Life." in Friars Gate Theatre, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick will deal with all stages of Richard's life and career. Bill and Ivan Harris have assured me that all three surviving brothers of Richard Harris, and their families will be there on the night of the 1St of October 2006, which is Richard's birthday. The second one is in Richard's old school, The Crescent College Comprehensive Limerick, and will concentrate on Richard's early life before leaving Limerick for Stardom. The show in Listowel in February 2007 will focus on the theme of the film, "The Field", where Harris played the Bull McCabe. The last show, in Kilkee, will deal with Richard and the Harris family's strong ties to Kilkee. Bill Harris said that, "Kilkee is a magic place. Five generations of Harris's have been coming here." I hope by having these Tribute shows to the late and great screen and stage legend Richard Harris, that it will give ordinary Irish people a chance to come and pay their respects, and also to reflect upon the colourful life and career of a Limerickman, an Irishman, who deserves to be remembered and honoured in a fitting and positive way.

Thomas Delohery B.A., M.F.A.