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Art inspired by Seamus Heaney's poetry goes on display

A chance visit to the Seamus Heaney Homeplace centre inspired artist, Maurice Orr to focus on the Nobel laureate's work.
Seamus McKinney

A painting of an anvil inspired by the work of Seamus Heaney forms part of an exhibition by acclaimed artist Maurice Orr which goes on display from tomorrow.

The anvil featured in one of Heaney's most famous poems, “The Forge” based on his boyhood memories of blacksmith Barney Devlin's forge near the poet's home.

“Close to Home” opens at the Flowerfield Arts' Centre in Portstewart. A series of large canvasses and smaller paintings, it will run until July 24.

Born in England, artist Orr grew up in Ballymena and now works from his studio in Armoy.

After a career in graphic design, he took early retirement and turned to oil painting. Since winning his first international residency in 2002, the artist has exhibited all over the world.

While the landscapes of Iceland, Australia and Vancouver Island – among the places in which he has been awarded residencies – he never strays far from the north coast, Co Antrim and now south Derry.

Orr said a chance visit to the Seamus Heaney Homeplace in Bellaghy introduced him to the landscape which inspired the poet, who died in 2013.

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