In the arts: Culturlann exhibition has echoes of ancient cave-painting

Idir Chanbhas is Cloch, an exhibition of work by Anrai Mac An Ultaigh, is at Culturlann McAdam Ó Fiaich

AN EXHIBITION of original artwork by Belfast man Henry McNulty is currently on display at the Culturlann McAdam Ó Fiaich Irish language cultural and arts centre on the Falls Road.

McNulty – Anrai Mac An Ultaigh as he is better known to the Irish-speaking community – has compiled Idir Chanbhas is Cloch – Between Canvas and Stone – a collection of work which takes the observer back to the origins of art and "the days when our ancestors painted on the walls of caves".

The paintings in acrylic are based on the "emotional juxtaposition" of colours, with a number of pieces having had several of their surfaces painted, "allowing the spectator to view it, almost as a piece of sculpture" according to McNulty.

McNulty is following something of a family tradition, as his father was a painter in oils and was known locally as simply Henry the Painter.

"I watched, fascinated, as my father thumb-tacked the oil paper to the chimney breast and began to turn the flat area of the paper into three dimensions," he recalls. "It conceived a lifelong love of painted images."

Other interests such as Zen and bonsai have helped shape the canvas-to-stone exhibition, with the idea first emerging while the artist was placing rocks in bonsai landscapes and "wondering how the surface of the stone could be altered".

A retired science teacher, McNulty is also a writer and has just completed his fifth book in Irish, Seal s'Agamsa, a series of stories about Irish-speaking Belfast in the years from 1967 to 1973.

:: Idir Chanbhas is Cloch runs at Culturlann McAdam Ó Fiaich until June 15. See

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