New work by Anthony Haughey
This Labour and Lockout exhibition at Limerick City Gallery of Art, proposes that we do best homage to the past by being in our present and considering our future. It also suggests that work – labour – is the subject of a changing world with complex implications for human relationships – where technology complicates the matter, looking at protest, rural and urban work, the questions of Ireland’s future, systems of ownership, public space, industrial geography, sites of crisis and power, citizenship and individuality. Information about the exhibition LCGA available here
DISPUTE 1913 | 2013
Installation: photographs, wall text and red clay bricks
On December 15th 2011 the owners of Lagan Brick factory, in Kingscourt, County Cavan ceased production of domestic house bricks. This was due to a fall in demand following the global economic crisis and the collapse of Ireland’s overheated housing market. The workers were sacked without notice and the management refused to pay redundancy entitlements. The workers had more than 580 years service between them. They staged a dispute outside the gates of the factory. The lockout lasted for 272 days, the longest industrial dispute ever staged in Ireland. It was finally resolved by the intervention of politicians and the Industrial Labour Court. Final redundancy payments to the workers was made in February 2013.
Red clay bricks are no longer produced anywhere in Ireland. On the final day of production one of the workers had the foresight to rescue some of the last bricks from the production line before they reached the kiln. Artist Anthony Haughey worked closely with the brick workers and documented the lockout. At the end of the lockout the unfired bricks were gifted to the artist to produce an art work dedicated to the struggle of the workers, their families and the community who supported them. The texts inscribed into the bricks reflect some of the key issues which emerged for the workers during the strike. The artist collaborated with sculptor Michael Kobuladze to produce the bricks.