The stained and bloodied cloths of Ireland

Harper, C. (2016) The stained and bloodied cloths of Ireland. In: In this place: Cumulus Association Biannual International Conference, 27 April - 1 May 2016, School of Art & Design, Nottingham Trent University, UK.

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On 30 January 1972, British soldiers shot dead 13 unarmed civilians (another dying of wounds weeks later) during a Civil Rights Association march in Derry. 17-years old Jackie Duddy was the first fatality, shot in the back while fleeing. Father Edward Daly was running beside him, and used his handkerchief as a ‘truce flag’ to allow removal of the corpse as shooting continued. In that place, in “unjustified and unjustifiable” circumstances [David Cameron, 2010], a humble hankie became an historical, locational, cultural and political artefact, preserved in the iconic, much reproduced, photographic image, and protected in Duddy’s family home and subsequently in the Free Derry Museum’s archives of Bloody Sunday. That artefact embodies both personal tragedy and political transformation in the social imagination of Northern Ireland, a flag of humanity providing an alternative to those traditional flags marking sectarian affiliation or heraldic triumphalism. When we accept that Ireland herself is a stained and bloodied cloth, marked irreversibly by history, conflict, denial and abuse, stained by repression and denial of all her people’s rights and needs, bloodied by the haemorrhage of her people, then – with empathy, humility and heart – we just might make peace with our past.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Paper)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts. Applied arts. Decoration and ornament > NK8800 Textiles
Event Title: In this place: Cumulus Association Biannual International Conference
Event Location: School of Art & Design, Nottingham Trent University, UK
Event Dates: 27 April - 1 May 2016
Depositing User: Debbie Bogard
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2017 11:02
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2019 16:34

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