Proclaiming Independence, Expressing Solidarity

  • Maggie M. Williams
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Belfast muralist Gerard “Mo Chara” Kelly has no formal artistic training. As he says, he thought he was “too tough” for art, “art was for soft people, y’know?” He came to painting via militant activism in support of hunger-striking republican political prisoners in the facility known as Long Kesh or H-Blocks. Young and passionately opposed to the British occupation of his country, Kelly began his career with a series of dramatically minimalist collaborations that he perceived as political statements, but that were also amazing works of visual art. He and his republican comrades erected huge white sculptures of the letter H—to represent the H-Block prison—throughout the Belfast landscape. In one particularly memorable action, they carved out the letter’s form on a local mountainside, filled the shape with white lime, and then lit the design on fire to create a flaming emblem of their righteous defiance.


Cultural Identity Ringed Cross Stone Monument Mickey Mouse Spiral Design 
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© Maggie M. Williams 2012

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  • Maggie M. Williams

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