1829 Catholic Emancipation Act
My artistic work is inspired by the belief that every voice must be heard. I therefore undertook with relish the process of exploring exactly how during the 19th century all denominations came to be represented in Parliament.
Preparation work for 1829 Catholic Emancipation Act
Daniel O’Connell’s election to the British House of Commons as MP for County Clare in 1828 was an extraordinary event. Although the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, and the Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel, opposed Catholic participation in Parliament, they saw that denying O'Connell his seat would cause outrage and could lead to another rebellion or uprising in Ireland, which was 85% Catholic. Mahatma Gandhi was inspired by O’Connell’s role as a leader of liberation through non-violent acts.
I felt that it was important to focus on the individuals who played significant roles in bringing about a change whereby the House welcomes Members regardless of their religious or non-religious grouping. For each of the seven portrait heads depicted, I created drawings on paper that were transferred on to canvas. Several different bird species are depicted, and two winged figures occupy the upper left and right corners of the banner, signifying liberty and, more particularly in this context, spiritual freedom.