Jack B. Yeats and the West of Ireland

Throughout January and February Ballina Arts Centrewill present Jack B Yeats and the West of Ireland, a special exhibition of the artist’s works from Sligo and Mayo. This exhibition is drawn from The Niland Collection and is presented in association with The Model, home of The Niland Collection.

Though Yeats was born in London, he spent most of his childhood in Sligo in the care of his maternal grandparents, often travelling around Sligo and Mayo with his grandfather, a wealthy merchant.

The young artist must have been captivated by the landscape and the characters he encountered here as, throughout his career, he returned repeatedly to the memories of his west of Ireland days for inspiration.

In 1905 Yeats was commissioned to illustrate a series of articles on Life in the Congested Districts of Galway and Mayo, by John Millington Synge, for The Guardian newspaper. Together Yeats and Synge spent several weeks touring the depressed regions. It was a trip that was to have a deep and lasting impact on the artist and shortly afterwards he began to concentrate solely on Irish subject matter.

It was in no small way due to his Sligo childhood and The Guardian commission that Jack developed a particular interest in the people and rituals of everyday life, painting street sellers, sailors, funerals, travelling fairs, circuses and the races. The exhibition features water-colours and oils from throughout his career.

On Thursday January 21, Emer McGarry, Assistant from The Model, Sligo, will lead a guided tour of the exhibition. The tour starts at 7pm and admission is free. The exhibition will be officially opened by Medb Ruane, Irish Independent columnist, on Wednesday January 13 and will run until the end of February. For further details visit the Ballina Arts Centre.