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Part of the tapestry as designed by Robert Ballagh
Part of the tapestry as designed by Robert Ballagh

President to launch 1913 Lockout tapestry project

The tapestry commemorates the historic event, which saw workers fighting for their rights almost a century ago.
Nov 6th 2012, 7:45 AM 4,155 7

THE DUBLIN LOCKOUT, in which people spent months in 1913 engaged in a battle for workers rights’, is to be commemorated with a tapestry crafted by Irish artists.

Tapestry project

President Michael D Higgins will officially launch the 1913 Lockout Tapestry Project in Liberty Hall, Dublin, today at 2.30pm. The tapestry is a large-scale collaborative visual arts project being created to commemorate the Dublin Lockout, which took place almost a century ago.

The project is planned to be completed in time to mark the centenary of the beginning of the Lockout in August 2013. An estimated 100,000 people, one third of the capital’s inhabitants at the time, were involved in a major battle with their employers for union recognition. They were led by Jim Larkin in their cause.

Painters Cathy Henderson and Robert Ballagh have been commissioned by SIPTU and the National College of Art and Design to create a visual narrative of over 30 panels. The panels will be laid out in ‘comic book’ style and will be multimedia textile pieces measuring 60cm x 76cm (2ft x 2.5ft).

The panels themselves are being made by volunteers, including members of the Irish Guild of Embroiderers, the Irish Patchwork Society, RADE (Rehabilitation through Art, Drama and Education), the Irish Countrywomen’s Association, a number of Dublin schools, community arts groups, trade union activists and inmates of Limerick prison.

A spokesperson from SIPTU said:

The 1913 Lockout is unique in the Decade of Centenaries we are now entering (1912-1923) in that it was a conflict between capital and labour, rather than along the traditional dividing lines of religion and nationality. It was also the first major conflict in Irish history that was urban centred. Many of the issues remain current – and unresolved – today.

The first panel of the tapestry was unveiled on Thursday at the opening of the Knitting & Stitching Show in the RDS.

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Aoife Barry


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