Ballina Arts Centre is hosting ‘Jack B Yeats & the West of Ireland’, a special exhibition of the artist’s works from Sligo and Mayo. The exhibition features watercolours and oils from throughout his career.
Although Yeats, brother to poet William Butler Yeats, was born in London, he spent most of his childhood in Sligo in the care of his maternal grandparents, often travelling around Sligo and Mayo with his grandfather, a wealthy merchant. The young artist must have been captivated by the landscape and the characters he encountered, as throughout his career he returned repeatedly to the memories of his west-of-Ireland days for inspiration.
In 1905, Yeats was commissioned to illustrate a series of articles on ‘Life in the Congested Districts of Galway and Mayo’, by John Millington Synge, for The Guardian newspaper. Together, Yeats and Synge spent several weeks touring the depressed regions. It was a trip that was to have a deep and lasting impact on the artist, and shortly afterwards he began to concentrate solely on Irish subject matter.
It was in no small way thanks to his Sligo childhood and The Guardian commission that Yeats developed a particular interest in the people and rituals of everyday life, painting street sellers, sailors, funerals, travelling fairs, circuses and the races.
The works on show are drawn from The Niland Collection and are presented in association with The Model arts centre in Sligo, home of The Niland Collection.
For more information, contact Ballina Arts Centre, the Ballina Civic Offices, Arran Place, Ballina on 096 73593.