A Shade of Green, an Orange Edge Exhibition
© By Conrad Atkinson
A Shade of Green, an Orange Edge was a significant 1975 exhibition In Belfast
“Belfast was first introduced to Conrad Atkinson’s politically engaged art at the Arts Council’s Bedford Srreet Gallery, thirty two years ago. The exhibition resulted from comprehensive research and an extensive visit to Belfast to meet community workers. His work was entitled ‘A Shade of Green. an Orange Edge’. It was a reflection on the questioning role of contemporary art in modern society with particular emphasis on matters surrounding labour, capital, ownership, culture and politics.
The exhibition commended discussion, negotiation and a framework for agreement in Northern Ireland. It was one of a series of annual May exhibitions organised by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in partnership with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, as part of its wider education programme.
This series entitled ‘Art and Work’ was designed to explore art connections with the trade unions and labour movement, and ran for more than ten years and ranged from a large exhibition of Trade Union Banners. called ‘Marching Workers’ to an exhibition of paintings and drawings by L.S. Lowry.
At the time exhibitions which addressed social problems and issues about violence, counter violence and injustice were rare in Belfast.
Irish artists, apart from a few notable exceptions, were not directly confronting or even indirectly engaging with these subjects in their work. Indeed many local artists were irritated by questions and comments from outside critics or commentators as to why artists were avoiding these overwhelming subjects.”
Brian Ferran, “Emerging from the Grey Mists”, Introduction to Conrad Atkinson Exhibition catalogue for “Some wounds healing; Some birds singing”, 2007
Copyright courtesy of the artist (representation: Ronald Feldman Fine Art NYC)