Lockout tapestry unveiled at Liberty Hall
Over 200 volunteers share in producing work of “sheer beauty”, says President
President Michael D Higgins launched a Tapestry depicting scenes and imagery from the 1913 Lockout at Liberty Hall in Dublin this afternoon. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Commemorations of the 1913 Lockout “broaden our understanding of our present condition and redefine the correct horizon of our future expectations,” President Michael D Higgins has said.
Unveiling the Commemorative 1913 Lockout Tapestry, at Liberty Hall, Dublin today, the President said narratives preserve the memory of deeds through time and in doing so, enable those deeds to become sources of inspiration for the future “to be imitated and if possible surpassed”.
The tapestry, made up of 30 panels featuring scenes from the Lockout story including Jim Larkin’s speech, was created by more than 200 volunteers from 30 organisations. Prisoners in Mountjoy and Limerick prisons worked on part of the tapestry, as did teachers and pupils from five Dublin schools and Miriam Larkin, great-granddaughter of the Lockout leader.
Artists Cathy Henderson and Robert Ballagh designed the pattern, commissioned by Siptu and the National College of Art and Design, and based on a narrative timeline provided by author Padraig Yeates.
The President praised the “sheer beauty” of the work and said it reminded us that the “aspiration for greater social and economic justice lives on”. He also said the use of weaving epitomised “the force of the collective”.
“As we reflect on our working conditions, past and present, the very process by which each volunteer had both a tangible and imaginative share in the making of the tapestry is an inspiring one,” he said.
Siptu president Jack O’Connor presented Mr Higgins with a reproduction of the original Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union red hand badge, worn by union members in 1913. He said he hoped the young men and women who helped produce the tapestry would “aspire to an Ireland where the rights of the individual are upheld in the context of the common good”.
The tapestry will be on display at the National Museum Collins Barracks from October 9th to November 14th.