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Engagement and Learning > Talks, Lectures & Events

Seminar Series: Part Two / Bearing Witness – Creative & Critical Practice on the Frontline

Friday 27 April 2018, 2.30pm / Johnston Suite - IMMA    

Exploring the continuum of war and the complexities of civil conflict; part two of this Seminar series draws on the personal and the political, to consider what creative practices can bring to global discourse, in framing war contexts that goes behind the headlines. Considering the political, social and cultural aftermaths of recent global wars, and Europe’s refugee crisis – this discussion considers the power and agency of witness, observation and reportage from the front line.

Speakers include Brian Maguire (Artist); Elisa Perrigueur (Film maker and Activist, Paris), Ed Vulliamy (Writer, The Guardian and The Observer, UK) and Razan Ibraheem (Journalist, Syria / Ireland). Chaired by Lara Marlowe (Author, France Correspondent and Journalist, Irish Times).

The panel offer a broad range of experiences, to reflect on how creative practitioners and cultural institutions might further mobilize our moral obligation as global citizens not to stand on the side-line. Shared motives and methodologies of the artist, activist and journalist to bear witness in post-truth times will be explored.

Programmed in the context of IMMA exhibition Brian Maguire, War Changes Its Address: The Aleppo Paintings, in which to explore a cross discipline of perspectives. This Seminar is part two in the series and follows the Seminar on Civil War – Historical & Contemporary Perspectives. See details here.                                   


Lara Marlowe is a Paris-based foreign correspondent for The Irish Times newspaper.  She has written extensively on the rise of Islamic State, and covered jihadist attacks in Paris and Tunisia in 2015.  As a journalist for more than three decades, she has lived in Paris, the Middle East and Washington DC, where she covered Barack Obama’s first term in office. Lara holds degrees from UCLA, the Sorbonne and Oxford, and has won three press awards.  She is the author of The Things I’ve Seen; Nine Lives of a Foreign Correspondent, and Painted With Words. The French government made her a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur for her contribution to Franco-Irish relations.

Brian Maguire has shown extensively in Europe and the US, also participating in shows in Korea, China and Japan. Recent solo exhibitions include Over Our Heads the Hollow Seas Closed Up, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin (2016), J’accuse, The Void, Derry (2015–2016); Fergus McCaffrey, New York (2015); X Espacio de Arte, Mexico City (2013); European Parliament, Brussels (2012) and Cultuurcentrum de Werft, Geel, Belgium (2012). In 2000, a major retrospective toured from Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane to Crawford Art Gallery, Cork and the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston. Group exhibitions and biennales include IMMA - Irish Museum of Modern Art; WIELS, Brussels; VISUAL, Carlow; Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane; RAM Foundation, Rotterdam; National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Korea; Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Japan; Dublin Contemporary (2011); the Beijing Biennale (2008) and the 24th Sâo Paolo Bienal (1998). Maguire’s work is held in numerous public and private collections including the Museum of Fine Art Houston, USA; IMMA; Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane; Trinity College Dublin; Alvar Aalto Museum, Finland; Gemeentemuseum, Den Hague, Netherlands; Wolverhampton Art Gallery, UK; and Crawford Art Gallery, Cork.

Edward Sebastian Vulliamy is known for War reporting in Bosnia and Iraq. He is is a British-Irish journalist and writer, born and raised in Notting Hill, London. He was educated at the independent University College School and at Hertford College, Oxford, where he wrote a thesis on the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’. In 1979, he joined Granada Television's flagship documentary programme World In Action, and won a Royal Television Society Award for a film about Ireland. In 1986, he joined The Guardian as a reporter. From there, he covered the Balkan wars, uncovering a gulag of concentration camps. In August 1992 Vulliamy and British journalist, Penny Marshall managed to gain access to the notorious Omarska camp. Their graphic accounts of the conditions of the prisoners were recorded for the documentary Omarska's survivors: Bosnia 1992.

He was awarded most major prizes in British journalism for his coverage of the war in Bosnia. As a result of this work, Vulliamy became the first journalist since the Nuremberg trials to testify at an international war crimes tribunal. He went on to testify in ten trials for the prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, including those of Bosnian Serb leaders Dr. Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic.
In 1994, and again from 1997 to 2003, Vulliamy was based in Washington and later New York as US Correspondent for the Guardian's sister paper, The Observer. There, he covered the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. He had covered the Iraq war of 1991, and then proceeded to report that of 2003, revealing atrocities by the coalition invasion forces, and some of the first insurgent action.
Among his awards for newspaper reporting are: Granada Television's Foreign Correspondent of the Year Award for 1992 International Reporter of the Year 1992, the Amnesty International Media award 1992, and the James Cameron Award in 1994. He was named Foreign Reporter of the Year in 1993 and 1997. From 2003 onwards, he worked along the US-Mexican border, reporting on issues of migration and the emergent drug wars. This work led to his book 'Amexica: War Along the Borderline', which in 2013 won the coveted Ryszard Kapuscinski Award for Literary Reportage – named in honour of the writer, creator and master of the genre. Vulliamy was shortlisted for the same award in 2017, for a book about the legacy of the Bosnian war, The War is Dead, Long Live The War: Bosnia, the Reckoning. After working with the Guardian and Observer newspapers in October 2016 for 31 years, he works as a full-time freelance author, journalist, librettist and film-researcher - but continues to the work for Guardian Films, on the peace process between the Colombian government and the FARC.

Forthcoming books include a memoir of a life with music in conflict zones ('When Words Fail: Music in a Real World', Granta, Oct. 2018), and another which will be an examination of correspondence between Vulliamy's great aunt, Gladys Hynes (artist and illustrator for Ezra Pound) and the Irish republican leadership between 1918 and 1922.

Razan Ibraheem is a Syrian born journalist. She came over to Ireland to do her MA (ELT) at the University of Limerick. The escalating violence in her country made her seek stay on in Ireland. She works as a journalist in a leading social media news agency, Storyful. Her deep sorrow for the tragic situation in Syria made her volunteer to go to Greece to help refugees last year. The people she met and the stories she heard from Syrian refugees there changed her perspective in life. She became an activist fighting for human rights and the rights of refugees, especially women and children.
Razan is a regular contributor to various newspaper articles and current events programmes on Irish radio and TV, endeavouring to explain the intricacies of Middle East politics to the Irish public. She gave a speech with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Last year she was invited by the UN to a high-level meeting on global responsibility sharing through pathways for admission of Syrian refugees. She has also been involed in projects with UNICEF, Amnesty International, Brighter Futures and Immigration Council. Razan was rewarded the International Woman of the Year by the Irish Tatler.
Elisa Perrigueur is based in Paris (France) and has worked as a Journalist since 2011. She was a correspondent in Greece, then worked in the editorial offices of Paris, the World, AFP. In Athens, she covered issue of refugees, during a trip to the Greek island of Lesbos, gateway for migrants in Europe. After several reports in camps, along borders she reports through writing, filmmaking and drawing to give different perspectives on the journey of migrants, and previously worked on the road to the Balkans, which began in late 2015, dangerously trivialize in the eyes of readers. She was awarded Louise Weiss Prize for European Journalism 2015 for the article "Against migrants, a barbed wire wall splits the Bulgarian countryside" (Le Monde).

About the Exhibition
This new exhibition brings together Brian Maguire’s latest body of work, resulting from a visit to Syria in 2017. It is shown in the context of earlier work made in response to the refugee crises hitting Europe’s shores as a result of the Syrian conflict. The Aleppo Paintings document the ruined buildings of the city, offering a visceral and stark insight into the physical consequences of war and the international arms trade that fuels all conflict. As with all his work, Maguire’s work is informed by first-hand experience of the city of Aleppo and its people and is fuelled by a desire to see beyond the news coverage to gain a personal insight into the reality of the situation.  Maguire’s paintings bear stark testament to the human suffering implicit in his depiction of the building fragments left after the bombardment, underlining the need for justice. 

Brian Maguire’s work emerges from social and political situations and a deep engagement with a particular place or group of people. He approaches painting as a gesture of solidarity and has undertaken projects in prisons, women’s shelters and psychiatric institutions.

Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 FW31, Ireland
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