JOANNE LAWS SPEAKS TO BRIAN MAGUIRE ABOUT HIS CURRENT EXHIBITION, ‘WAR CHANGES ITS ADDRESS: THE ALEPPO PAINTINGS’.
Joanne Laws: ‘The Aleppo Paintings’ depict the crumbling buildings of the war-torn Syrian city. Can you describe your motivation for this work?
Brian Maguire: I was very interested in the Syrian Civil War. I was reading texts by Patrick Cockburn, which made me think about how the Irish Civil Rights Movement was militarised and sectarianised. It became about Catholics and Protestants and was taken over by the military, yet it began as a civil rights movement, just as the rebellion in Syria began as a peaceful movement and very quickly became militarised by armed gangs. It also became sectarianised, meaning that people of different faiths could only live within certain areas. With these paintings, I’m not making any statement about who did what to whom, because I don’t know. This series evolved from a painting I did for the Kerlin show in 2016, of a destroyed apartment block in Aleppo. The motivation was to finish the argument.