LCGA Exhibitions

Labour & Lockout

9th August - 1st October 2013
Limerick City Gallery of Art

Labour & Lockout

The Lockout in Dublin was of Shakespearian proportions - heroes and villains conform to the complexity of the Shakespearian idea and triumph is often nuanced.

In making the centenary of the Lockout and in consideration of the social history of Ireland as it played and is playing out, LCGA joins in a national consideration of the work of Contemporary Art in drawing attention to the social issues of our times.  Underwritten by the notion that we do best homage to the part by living - really living in our present - the work of 9 artists is brought to Limerick to bring our present into high relief.  Our National Question has become one fo the bond market; the traditional labour in our communities is becoming a legal grey area; the protest of craft-workers at their redundancy at the hands of exported manufacturing, the georgraphy around industry and how it affects our towns; our struggle to be individual and the question around our Ireland of the future; our connection to international models of labour and profit as well as the notions of Public Space - examining all these aspects now pays homage to the struggle for self determination and for consultation that embodies the reason for the Great Lockout of 1913, which involved workers of the City and exiles from the Countryside alike.

Artists in LCGA's exhibition include: Mark Curran, Seamus Farrell, Darek Fortas, Anthony Haughey, Jesse Jones, Sean Lynch, Megs Morley & Tom Flanagan, Deirdre O’Mahony, Deirdre Power.



Deirdre Power, Seduction of Place, ducal print

Labour and Lockout ......



You take my life

When you do take the means whereby I live

Bruce Springsteen came to Limerick, 16 July 2013. On a glorious evening in the Shannon-side town, 35000 people parted with a considerable sum to buy a ticket for the 62 year old American legend and his E Street Band, which followed a Munster Senior Hurling Title win that had eluded Limerick’s faithful for over 17 years. The Glory Days track that Springsteen included in his set resonated.


But earlier in the evening, something darker and a resonance that couldn’t be shaken, intoned in Death to my Home Town which included the lines referring to those who had ruined the town’s factories and industries:


So listen up, my Sonny boy
Be ready for when they come
For they’ll be returning sure as the rising sun


(from Death to my Home Town, lyrics by Bruce Springsteen)


With Springsteen’s impeccable blue collar hero credentials and touring through Ireland in 2013, Ireland and Limerick with its predatory banks and flagellant tendencies, may well pause to reflect about the earlier crisis of1913 labour and its legacy, one hundred years later.


In James Larkin’s speech, in defence of the strike action, to the Askquith 1913 Lockout Enquiry, he used Shakespeare’s words –

You take my life

When you do take the means whereby I live

(from the Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare)


In doing this, he quotes Shylock, a complex character to bring up in this context, baying for his pound of flesh. But then, this idea of work, of value and to who what is owed or to what is one entitled and the other required to deliver - is complex, the relationship between people and their work.

This Labour and Lockout exhibition at Limerick City Gallery of Art, proposes that we do best homage to the past by being in our present and considering our future. It also suggests that work – labour – is the subject of a changing world with complex implications for human relationships – where technology complicates the matter, looking at protest, rural and urban work, the questions of Ireland’s future, systems of ownership, public space, industrial geography, sites of crisis and power, citizenship and individuality.

This exhibition also reinforces the artist as among the thinkers of our time who get stuck into the wondering and analyzing of what is emerging. While respecting that the narrative of 1913 will be told elsewhere, these Contemporary Artists on exhibition look at now and the future.



The Gallery Plan Your Visit Gallery Events Exhibitions The Collection Education Publications Media