Them that work the hardest are the least provided ...

March 30, 2014

The starting point for ‘Them that work the hardest…’ was in listening again to recollected lines from songs dealing with the experiences of people at work, while at the same time reflecting on personal, family and community history. Some of these lines (in no particular order) are:

‘Oh dear me the world is ill divided, them that work the hardest are the least provided’

from The Jute Mill Song by Mary Brookbank

‘In the morning we built the city, in the afternoon walked through its streets, evening saw us leaving’
from The Ballad of Accounting by Ewan MacColl

‘Laddie ye dinnae ken the danger that ye’re in, if yer horses wis tae flegg and your owsen wis tae rin’
from Twa Recruitin Sergeants, Traditional

‘I couldn’t hardly find, I couldn’t hardly find, I couldn’t hardly find my monday morning shoes’           
from Monday Morning Blues by Mississippi John Hurt

‘We’re a sat thigether here to sit and to crack, wi oor glasses in our hands and oor work upon oor back’           
from The Work of the Weavers, Traditional

‘This boat we’re sailing in was built by many hands and the sea we are sailing on, it touches many lands’
From Somos El Barco by Pete Seeger

‘O dear me the mill is gaen fast, puir wee shifters cannae get nae rest’              
from The Jute Mill Song by Mary Brookbank

‘Friday, friday morning, come on friday its been to long. Friday, friday morning, come on friday I want to go home’
from Friday by JJ Cale

‘If you were a bird, if you were a buffalo, they’d paint your silhouette against the sky’
from Bye Bye Big Blue by Brian McNeill

‘And it’s not the fights you dreamed of but those you really fought, it’s not what you’ve been given, it’s what you do with what you’ve got’
from What You Do With What You’ve Got by Si Khan

Jim Cathcart has been living and working in Dublin since 1998. As a visual artist, Jim’s work has included printmaking, drawing, painting, murals, banners and poster design. In addition to exhibiting in galleries in Scotland and Ireland, his work has found its way into a variety of public, community and commercial spaces. As an arts activist, Jim has been involved in a long term quest for socially relevant approaches to art. This led to a number of roles in community based arts such as tutor and facilitator; artist in residence; project and event manager; arts co-ordinator; researcher and consultant. Jim currently works from a studio in Rua Red, South Dublin Arts Centre. If you are interested in visiting the studio contact Jim on 087 6923127 or

Read more ... here ... 

Further information about this exhibition or the Visual Arts programme:  Emer McGowan, Director at 01-8098027 or email

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By Draíocht. Tags: Visual Arts, Jim Cathcart,

Des Kenny Reviews Jim Cathcart

February 28, 2014

17 February 2014 - Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny gives a personal response to our current exhibition by Jim Cathcart ...

Jim Cathcart
Friday 14 February - Saturday 19 April 2014 
‘Them that work the hardest …’ - Ground Floor Gallery
'Selected Works on Paper' - First Floor Gallery
Read more … here 

The desire for an earthly paradise is found in cultural echoes of human mythology, embedded in stories like the Garden of Eden, Tir na nOg and the lost world of Atlantis. These fabled worlds permitted mankind to live free and fulfil all human expectations in a spirit of joy. The inclination to construct a society where humanity overcomes its limitations and lives in peace and harmony is still ingrained in human psych even if these attempts have generally proved disastrous.

Jim Cathcart’s large banner murals hanker for a paradise where the citizen is free to live, in balance with nature and in refined fellowship with each other. In one mural a man is about to place a toy boat in a river; by his right hand side people work the land gathering bountiful crops and to his left is an image of hands working in solidarity on industrial products which free all from a fate of drudgery granting free time to play. He places his toy boat into waters free of turbulence knowing this act of playfulness is his euphoric reward for a belief in an ideal society.

In another mural, the dual natures  of man, light and dark, good and evil no longer do battle for mans soul but these disparate facets combine in accord, to benefit all. In another image a man holds up a page to the light of a full silver moon where perhaps are written the sacred credo of quintessential laws which will hold a faultless society together. He stands assured by mystical moon light, proof reading the new constitution which will govern all and become the salvation of mankind. Yet there lies a flaw in this earthly heaven, a deceit, where for the greater good anything which would undermine society is instinctively silenced.

A mural divided into four sections, seems to depict an industrial accident, a man wears a gas mask for protection, an industrial glove cannot prevent the poison escaping causing damage to the genetic structure of living organisms. In the painting a woman’s mouth is bound and prevented from speaking about the unsafe practices which led to the disaster. Yet overall these works have an optimistic atmosphere portraying an expectation that alternatives to our current political systems are possible but first we must dream of their existence before reality welcomes their arrival.

Six paintings of wandering musicians hang together, rendered in mooted tones that weave a spell of tranquillity. They appear to be enveloped in that cusp of silence before sound announces its presence. In the provenance of their stillness they listen to that internal rhythm which populates the heart and from this primal source, create music.

Arrayed on the walls upstairs in Draiocht’s First Floor Gallery are Jim Cathcart’s graphic works. They include limited edition prints, watercolours and gouache on paper. In three images a large pyramid shaped rock breeches the surface of the sea. At one moment it appears to float above the sea as its base is obscured by mist and in another the summit is covered by storm clouds as a tumultuous seas rage against its indomitable cliffs. It stands immutable as if awaiting the arrival of Noah’s ark. In still lifes that bear striking resemblance to the rock pictures the artist has perched on the top a pebble and a shell. The symmetrical still life seeks to explore the precarious tight rope balancing act of nature’s structures which can descend into chaos with interference from human contact

Various pastel drawings of pebbles, shaped by pounding waves harbour the passing mystery of time. Clocks without dials measuring time from the earth’s beginning pose for the artists finite eyes. Hooded crows and pigeons are scrutinised by the artist. A pigeon in ‘40 miles from Malaga’ holds the air with certainty as it finds a way home with doubtless conviction while a hooded crow stares with laconic intelligence at the viewer. A pastel drawing of a leaf on the verge of decomposition covered in dark blemishes hints at the unthinkable demise of the self for lives like leaves have their season.

Jim Cathcart
Friday 14 February - Saturday 19 April 2014 
‘Them that work the hardest …’ - Ground Floor Gallery
'Selected Works on Paper' - First Floor Gallery
Read more … here 

Video Archive ... here ... and here ... 

Desmond Kenny is an artist based in Hartstown, Dublin 15. He is a self taught painter, since he began making art in 1986 he has since exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad, solo shows include Draíocht in 2001, The Lab in 2006 and Pallas Contemporary Projects in 2008. His work is included in many collections including the Office of Public Works, SIPTU, and Fingal County Council. Kenny's practice also incorporates print making and he has been a member of Graphic Studio Dublin since 2004.


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By Draíocht. Tags: Reviews & Interviews, Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Jim Cathcart,