It is always exciting and though provoking to get the opportunity to view the new work of John Behan one of Ireland’s foremost sculptors which are on view in Dublin’s Solomon Gallery.
In this exhibition John Behan manages to both move and challenge us with his stunning pieces of sculpture. Opened by President Michael D Higgins this show displays all the depth and character of Behan’s work as an artist still driven by his love and compassion for humanity.
Just as his incredible bronze famine ships continue to depict the ghostly exile of Ireland’s Great Famine emigrants sailing to new shores, Behan having conducted art workshops in the Eleonas refugee camp in Athens which houses over 2,000 Syrian refugees has been inspired to chart new journeys .
This time with a number of magnificent bronzes Behan has captured the plight of desperate migrants on flimsy overcrowded ribs, dinghies and boats desperate to flee war-torn Syria in the hope of finding refuge and peace. The lonely figure of a man lifts the doll like figure of a small child taken from the sea.
In his series ‘The Seven Ages of Man’ Behan returns to one of his favourite figures the bull, and as in William Shakespeare’s famous words, he depicts the ever changing form and figure of the bronze bull, from its early days of vitality and strength, vigour and power to eventual old age and weakness and frailty.
As John Behan celebrates his eightieth birthday, he not only continues to make art and to sculpt, but continues to inspire us all.