January 27, 2020, 7pm – By Niall Ó Brolcháin – IMEMC: As part of The Bloody Sunday March Committee’s annual events, Eden Place Arts Centre launched an exhibition of paintings and fine art prints by artist Nadia Kaczmarczuk on the theme of the oppression of the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.
The exhibition, entitled ‘Occupation’, was opened by Kate Nash, whose brother William was shot dead on Bloody Sunday, and Catherine Hutton, chairperson of the Derry branch of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC). Catherine said:
“I am honoured to be asked to open this latest exhibition by artist Nadia Kaczmarczuk. It is partly a collection of works which she displayed last year at Eden Place Arts Centre plus some new pieces. As well as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) theme, the new pieces are more a reflection of ongoing human rights violations, particularly the intentional targeting of the eyes of photojournalists.
So the theme is ‘the eyes of truth’, taken from a quote from Sami Musran, a photographer who lost an eye…’Israel wants to blind the eyes of truth by sending messages to photographers saying we will hit your eyes to make you stop taking photos’. Once again, Nadia has chosen the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) as the beneficiary of the proceeds from the sale of the artworks. I urge people to come along and see this thought-provoking collection”.
Artist Nadia Kaczmarczuk, who is donating all proceeds from the exhibition to MAP said:
“As an artist living and working in Derry, my social activism has a huge impact on my work. This exhibition, a combination of paintings and fine art prints, stems from my ongoing support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in Palestine and the need to promote awareness of the continued human rights violations occurring there on a daily basis. Art can reach and touch peoples’ souls on a different level to the images and falsehoods we are fed by mainstream media, to which we are, at least in part, inured – ‘If anything, art is about morals, about our belief in humanity. Without that, there simply is no art.’ Ai Weiwei – dissident Chinese artist”.
Thirteen unarmed civilians were murdered in the Bogside, Derry, by the British Parachute Regiment on what became known as Bloody Sunday on January 30, 1972. A fourteenth victim would die several months later as a result of the injuries he sustained on that fateful day.
Bloody Sunday began as a peaceful demonstration by some 10,000 men, women and children, organized by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) in opposition to the British government’s policy of interning suspected Irish Republicans without trial.
Within hours, thirteen innocent people would be dead and many more injured at the hands of the Paras.
After an initial cover-up and whitewash by the British Widgery Report, and years of campaigning by the victims’ families, a second inquiry was launched and the 5,000-page Saville Report found that the first shot in the vicinity of the march had been fired by the British army and that there was no justification for the shooting of the civilian casualties. It also found that none of the soldiers had fired in response to attacks by those throwing projectiles and that none of those who were shot were armed or had posed any threat to the soldiers.
Upon the issuing of the report in 2010, British Prime Minister David Cameron went before Parliament to apologize for the shootings. The following year, the British government announced that it would offer financial compensation to relatives of the victims.
Only one of the paratroopers involved in the murders on that day will face charges relating to the atrocity. ‘Soldier F’ is soon to stand trial for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney and the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon, and Patrick O’Donnell.
The Exhibition was launched Monday, 27 January at 7 pm, and will run until Monday, 3 February at the Eden Place Arts Centre, Pilots Row, Derry