Northern Ireland news

Strabane-born artist will be remembered for his `creativity, talent and huge heart'

Strabane-born artist Felim Egan passed away in Dublin on November 19
Marie Louise McConville

A CO Tyrone-born artist, who was involved in sending flotillas to Gaza, has been remembered for his "creativity, talent and huge heart".

Felim Egan (68) who was originally from Strabane, died on November 19 at the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin.

A cremation service took place on Monday at Lakelands Crematorium in Co Cavan.

Gaza Action Ireland last night paid tribute to Mr Egan who was an acclaimed artist and a "tireless supporter of Palestinian rights".

"Through his own work as a painter and with his artistic colleagues, Felim was crucial to the Irish Ship to Gaza Campaign and the flotilla movement to break the illegal siege of Gaza," the group said.

"Irish Art for Gaza played a major part in raising the funds to buy the MV Saoirse which sailed to break the blockade of Gaza as part of the Freedom Waves flotilla movement in 2011.

"The MV Saoirse and the Tahrir sailed for Gaza in November 2011, the larger flotilla having been sabotaged by Israel that summer. Felim cooked for his shipmates and coordinated the kitchen. The two ships were intercepted in international waters by the Israeli navy, Felim and his shipmates were kidnapped and imprisoned in Givon jail in Israel."

The group said Mr Egan finally travelled to Gaza in 2013 where he "established links with Palestinian artists there, visiting their studios, doing painting workshops with children and setting up an arts strand of solidarity between Irish and Palestinian artists".

"Although Israel's brutal siege prevented the artists from travelling to Ireland, Felim curated their work in the very powerful Windows into Gaza exhibition which opened at the RHA in Dublin and travelled around Ireland, sharing the artists' work and their perspectives with audiences here," the group added.

"We will dearly miss Felim's creativity, talent and huge heart, his wicked sense of humour and his uniqueness. We send our deepest sympathies to his friends and family. Go well Felim, our friend, you were one of the best."

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