Bury Me In Aleppo

Bury me in Aleppo, for my children lie there
Carrion for the hawk, eagle and bear
Bury me in Aleppo, for my wife lies there too
Hope is the preserve of those such as you
Bury me in Aleppo, for it’s death I now pray.
I have no tomorrow, don’t let this be your day.

Peter McDonagh

Art Should Speak!

The Odyssey

The Odyssey (2016)

A painting about the terrible endless plight of Syrian refugees.

Help Me!

Is the sky above me so diff’rent to yours
that you would turn me away from these shores?
Is this the face of a migrant you see?
Does a migrant flee or a refugee?
Help me!

Peter McDonagh (2016)

Art should speak. To have a voice and not shout about issues is to gesticulate wildly to others in a very dark room. Art should ask something of the audience – to question, to disagree, to understand better, to feel, to inspire. Mime is the music of people who have misplaced their creativity and who rely, instead, on the aesthetic, the proven formula, the well trodden path, the commercial route to success. Over the years I have appreciated the talent of many artists if not their art. A boundary can be moved as far as one is willing to push it. Some, however, are content in their own comfortable space. To me, that is talent, not art. It is talent wasted. At at time when the World and its people are facing terrible issues, when people want to understand but are prevented from doing so by a corrupt media and people of influence, it is to the arts that people must turn. They cannot turn in our direction and be met with silence. Art should speak!

This painting is entered in the Artwaves Festival Open Exhibition being held on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 May 2016 at The Spa Bridlington where it will be available for sale. Artwaves Open Exhibition

The Last To See

The Last To See

Continuing the theme of outrage at our continued interference with nature as we seek to exploit its resources and control its riches, this expressionist painting is a window on an apocalyptic reality in Indonesia.
Corporate giants destroy the earth in their pursuit of a healthier bottom line.  It is criminal!  I wrote something to accompany the painting as a release for my anger…

The Last to See – Ode to Palm Oil
If I should die
Who’d weep but I
For I’m the last to see
A shroud above my head burns high
Where once green canopy
Invest, progress
Mammon the cry!
Earth raped by corporate thieves
Trees felled upon the land they lie
And in their place green wreathes.
By Peter McDonagh

Nestle and PepsiCo are evil immoral corporate giants who are destroying our planet in pursuit of profit. My current work can perhaps be described as Expressionist environmental art. I think of it as protest art.
Art should speak.

Fire and Ice

Fire And Ice

I am dismayed and depressed at the effects of climate change on the arctic. As ice melt increases, the effects of climate change are exacerbated. Central to this disaster is mankind. We have raped the planet, plundered its resources and polluted the atmosphere. This painting is an expression of how I feel about arctic melt.

In 1920 Robert Frost published his acclaimed poem “Fire and Ice” which discussed the end of the world and which also likened the elemental force of fire with desire and ice with hate.

“Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire,
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.”

The arctic, embraced and bathed by the warmth of a golden sun, is never more beautiful than at the time of its demise.

The animals of this planet are at one with mother nature. The exception is man.
This, and other paintings, serve to remind mankind that nature is in delicate balance and that our home is small.

The Beginning

My journey began before the beginning.

My career as an artist started at an early age.  While other children were learning long division, I was creating artwork for the school walls.  Often, it was at my own instigation, but increasingly, teachers would invite me to produce a new piece and induce me with the offer of missing Maths or some such subject.  Praise nurtured my talent and the creative space I was afforded allowed me to be productive.

Teenage lethargy and hormones followed.  When required to produce drawings for my final year exhibition at senior school, I submitted drawings done five years previously whilst at primary school.  The teacher never knew.

I left school and went to work.  It was the start of a long and lucrative career.  The security it afforded and the rewards it offered conspired to prevent me from pursuing my real passion.  The news that my second child was due and the financial demands this entailed put paid to a short foray on a Fine Art degree course.

The dining table became my infrequent studio.  I learnt to paint quickly with acrylics but my real love was in using oils.  Oil painting, however, required as much preparation and clearing up time as actual painting time.  She was a difficult and demanding lover.

My creativity frustrated, I flirted with another.  Photography became my new flame.  A two year Level 5 HNC in Photography revealed, to my surprise, that I was good at what I thought I was not good at.  Scenic shots were always an interest, but my real gift, as it transpired, was in photographing people.  My social conscience and interest in politics and current affairs drew me to social documentary photography.

My career and location, however, were still proving to be barriers to creative fulfilment.  Having sacrificed over thirty years to a nagging spouse, it was time for a divorce.

Relocation to North Yorkshire ensued and roots were put down in Scarborough.  Time to scratch that thirty year itch.

I immersed myself in the business planning process. I had taken the first step.  It was the beginning.