‘The cell was my canvas’ book by Raymond Wilson

Artist Raymond Watson at the exhibition. Photography by Dessie Coyles. INBM41-14 s
Artist Raymond Watson at the exhibition. Photography by Dessie Coyles. INBM41-14 s

Ballycastle’s Harbour Gallery, thanks to owner Martin McNamara, was the venue for a book signing and display of works by Raymond Watson.

Raymond was born in 1958 and the political conflict in Northern Ireland had a great deal to do with the creativity behind his paintings, carvings and sculptures.

Enjoying the exhibition. Photography by Dessie Coyles. INBM41-14 s

Enjoying the exhibition. Photography by Dessie Coyles. INBM41-14 s

Raymond explained how his family were refugees at the beginning of the Troubles. He, like many people of that era, had first hand experience of the traumatic and life changing events through the Troubles which caused him to reflect on the meaning of life and how he started to express himself through his artworks such as “Did I Surrender” made from bronze and sandstone which questions the actual meaning of surrender or “Shellshock” bronze and sandstone again, which illustrates an elongated figure with a tired worn out expression which takes its inspiration from victims of war all over the world and the results of physical, mental and financial trauma caused by these actions of war.

And my own personal favourite “The Hands of History” where the hands of the political leaders who negotiated the Good Friday agreement were moulded, then cast in bronze and mounted onto granite to create this timeless masterpiece which is in minute detail - well worth seeing.

In his book “The Cell was My Canvas” he describes with humour the casting of the hands of the

people involved - Sean Neeson (Alliance), Monica Mc Williams (Women’s Coalition), David Ervine (PUP), Gary Mc Michael (UDP), David Trimble (UUP), Malachi Curran (Labour), John Hume (SDLP), Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein) and last but not least Mo Mowlam, the British Secretary of State at the time. (A great read).

Also on display from his works was the “Immigration Boat”, the “Broighter Boat” and many more including some carvings from bog oak, well worth casting your eye

Read more online.

over the detail in these unique pieces.

Above all a great turn out for Raymond Watson and a very enjoyable end to the evening hosted by owner Martin Mc Namara with everyone being served wine and refreshments while browsing through the many works of art, from oil paintings, pencil drawings, carvings, photographs and cut glass to name but a few in the gallery, well worth a visit.

Raymond’s work is on display until Sunday 12th October, so don’t miss your chance to see these

pieces in the Harbour Gallery, Ballycastle.

(Dessy Coyles)