SLIDESHOW - review of ‘The Cell was my Canvas’ book launch in Ballycastle


On Saturday 27th September in the Harbour Gallery, Ballycastle held the event of the book signing and

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

display of works of Raymond Watson with thanks to Martin Mc Namara for the use of his gallery.

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.

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, 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 master piece 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 Party, Monica Mc Williams – Womens Coalition, David Ervine – P.U.P, Gary Mc Michael – U.D.P, David Trimble – Unionist Party, Malachi Curran – Labour, John Hume – S.D.L.P, Gerry Adams – Sinn Fein and last but not least Mo Mowlam, the British Secretary of State at the time. (A great


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 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)