Robert Ballagh

Visual Arts

Robert Ballagh was born in Dublin in 1943. He has been painting on a full time basis since his first exhibition in Dublin in 1969.

Ballagh’s work as a painter is represented in many important collections including the National Gallery of Ireland, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Crawford Municipal Gallery Cork, Dublin City Gallery, the Hugh Lane, Ulster Museum and the Albrecht Durer House Nuremberg. Major survey exhibitions of his work have taken place in Lund, Warsaw, Moscow, Sofia and Dublin.

In 1991 Robert Ballagh was elected chairperson of the national organising committee for the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the 1916 rising. Also for 10 years, he chaired the national executive of the Irish National Congress, a non-party political organisation, working for peace, unity and justice in Ireland. The BBC produced a documentary on Robert Ballagh, which was directed by the poet Paul Muldoon and in 2002 Igloo films produced an Irish language documentary “Robert Ballagh” which was directed by Anthony Byrne.

Robert Ballagh has been an active campaigner for artists’ rights and he is a member of Aosdána, a self-governing trust of Ireland’s most distinguished artists. He was the founding chairperson of the Association of Artists in Ireland and in 1983 he was elected to the international executive of the International Association of Artists, a UNESCO affiliate of over 80 countries

Ballagh says: “It is a matter of coincidence that I began my artistic career as the ‘troubles’ commenced and that the consequent conflict formed part of the background to my life for the next thirty years. Also, I suppose it was inevitable that certain tragic events would find their way into my work.”

Book: Robert Ballagh by Ciaran Carty, 1986
Catalogue Note by Brian Trench for Exhibition, Orchard Gallery, 1979