Artist Gerard Dillon coming home to west Belfast gallery

Éamonn Mallie will open the Gerard Dillon centenary exhibition in Belfast this evening

RARELY seen works of acclaimed west Belfast-born artist Gerard Dillon are part of an exhibition opening this evening in the gallery named in his honour.

Broadcaster, journalist and art lover Éamonn Mallie will open the Gerard Dillon centenary exhibition in Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich's Dánlann Dillon. It comprises 12 works by the artist born in April 1916 in Lower Clonard Street.

A self-taught artist, Dillon left school aged 14 and began working as a painter and decorator before moving to London where he worked on building sites. His first exhibition opened in London in 1942.

After spending a year on the remote island of Inishlackan, off the Connemara coast, his work began to attract more attention and he was soon exhibiting widely and working prolifically.

The latest exhibition, which features works from different phases in Dillon's career, offers "a fascinating insight into the life and work of one of Belfast's most famous artists,” according to Concubhar Ó Liatháin of Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich.

The show is curated by Dillon expert Dr Mary Cosgrove, drawing from private and public collections throughout Ireland, including the Office of Public Works, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and the University of Limerick.

Dánlann Dillon opened in 2011 as part of the Cultúrlann's extension to its Broadway base. It has hosted exhibitions by leading artists including Robert Ballagh, Gearóid Mac Lochlainn and Seán Ó Flaithearta. It recently hosted an exhibition by installation artist Aisling O'Beirn which featured as part of the NI Science Festival programme.

In the coming months a number of exciting exhibitions are planned for Dánlann Dillon including a social history display about life on the banks of the Belfast's Farset River. This exhibition is part of the ongoing Farset Project which reaches its climax on May 30 with a series of events from Cavehill to Belfast Harbour.

:: Gerard Dillon Centenary 1916-1971 opens tonight at 7pm, running until May 4. See

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