22 March 2006

Troubles art finds home in London


The exhibition features images of 1970s Northern Ireland streetlife

A museum in London has unveiled a collection of paintings of Northern Ireland street scenes in the early and mid-1970s.

The artist - Ralph Lifford - travelled to Northern Ireland to paint history as it unfolded.

His work depicted soldiers and civilians as they went about their daily lives.

Now, 30 years later, it has found a home - in the National Army Museum in west London's Chelsea area.

His pictures of soldiers as they go about their daily lives on patrol behind the shocking backdrop of a city at war are to be seen by thousands in the new exhibition.

This is the first time a collection of work relating to the Troubles has been shown at the venue - the feeling was that the time was right.

There is a sense that this collection can bring a reflection of some of the most traumatic times across the board in Northern Ireland to a wider audience.

The museum's Jenny Spencer-Smith said: "I hope people do come to see it because it does show one person's point of view.

"It's very much a civilian looking at what happened in the 1970s.

"We're now in the 21st century, time has gone on, and we feel it is the right time to go with it and the public response has been brilliant."

Those who come to see the more traditional exhibits are often drawn to the Northern Ireland collection.

"We've had great feedback, very, very positive," Jessica Stewart of the museum said.

"That's very encouraging for us because this is the first time we've done an exhibition on Northern Ireland, so it bodes well for the future."

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