Labour and Lockout ......

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

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 defense 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.

Monday – Friday 10am – 5.30pm; Thursday 10 – 7pm; Saturday 10-5; Sunday 12-5pm




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