The Irish Nation, a collection of Irish iconography by renowned mosaic artist Mark Kennedy including works featuring George Best, Oscar Wilde, Sinead O’Connor and Shane McGowan, will be exhibited in cultural and creative venues across Manchester this month.

Commissioned by Irish Mancunian, an organisation that curates cultural events of Irish interest for Manchester audiences, The Irish Nation has been transformed into a free-to-view art trail with the support of global art producer, Wild in Art.

Each piece has been placed in a venue carefully selected to provide context to the piece. Ten years in the making, the project began in 2015, when Mark Kennedy spontaneously created a piece of Samuel Beckett. The stunning collection of original and previously unseen mosaics now portrays seventeen personalities from the worlds of literature, music, sport and history.

Singer Luke Kelly can be found at Hallé St Peter’s, Manchester United legend George Best at the National Football Museum, music icons Sinead O’Connor and Shane MacGowan at New Century, poet, playwright and wit Oscar Wilde at QueerLit, playwright Samuel Beckett at 53Two, and. John F. Kennedy at the Science and Industry Museum in a nod to the part he played in the moon landings.

Ground-breaking architect and furniture designer Eileen Gray, whose mosaic can be seen at Manchester Craft and Design Centre and boxing phenomenon Katie Taylor’s portrait can be found at Koffee Pot.

Sitting alongside the exhibition will be QR codes to take you straight to the website to learn more about the fascinating stories behind the art.

Mosaic artist Mark Kennedy said: “My work for the last 30 years has been based on identity. My own identity and place of birth is the city of Manchester in the north-west of England, its social movements, politics, sport, film, music and television.

“When I was commissioned to create the Irish Nation series it felt like a natural extension of my work. The connections between Ireland and its people and the city of Manchester are utterly interwoven. Researching and undertaking this project over the last decade has been an education into Irish culture which has certainly enriched me.”

The full trail including locations of all pieces is:

Luke Kelly at Hallé St Peter’s

Oscar Wilde at QueerLit

Morrissey of The Smiths on 1st Floor at Smith’s Tribute in Afflecks

Katie Taylor at Koffee Pot

Eileen Gray at Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Sinead O’Connor at New Century Hall

Shane MacGowan at New Century Hall

George Best at the National Football Museum

Brendan Behan at the Royal Exchange Theatre

Seamus Heaney at the Portico Library

James Joyce at Manchester Central Library

Constance Markievicz at the People’s History Museum

John F. Kennedy at Manchester Science and Industry Museum

Samuel Beckett at 53Two

The Quiet Man at HOME

Phil Lynott at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM)

Bridget O’Donnell (Famine Mother and her children) on the side of the Thirsty Scholar

Fri 1 Mar - Sun 31 Mar, Various city centre locations
Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Fri 1 Mar 2024