In response to the November Paris terrorist attacks, a painting by local artist Tommy Barr has been presented to the French National Archive by the Irish Section of the Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
The piece was described as ‘very powerful’ by the French Ambassador to Ireland, H E Jean-pierre Thébault.
The French Ambassador accepted the painting during a visit to the French Embassy in Dublin.
Entitled “En plein Coeur,” the painting has been created on a collage of newspaper articles from the French press which described the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015.
Tommy said: “Painted largely in monochrome, it depicts a young girl seated on the ground.
“She is wearing a bracelet with a single charm, a dove of peace descending, which is the symbol of the Huguenot Society worldwide.”
Ambassador Thébault was immediately struck by the symbolism included in the painting and by the dark colours.
As was the response across the world, Tommy was saddened by the attacks in Paris.
He confided that he always struggles to find the right words to adequately describe such awful events, but said: “painting is my best form of expression and where I often turn to work through situations like this”.
Tommy is hopeful that the painting will suggest solidarity and also hope to those who view it.
He says he considers it a small response at a difficult time.
Tommy went on to talk about the Irish links with the Huguenot Society and the French Embassy.
He said: “The Huguenot Society, which is a legacy of those French refugees arriving in Ireland in three waves during the second half of the seventeenth century, has a long standing friendship with the French Embassy.
“Secretary of the Society, Elizabeth Bicker, believes that our artistic links with France run very deep and so it has been a great pleasure for us to present this particular gift.
“It is presented as an expression of our solidarity.”
Tommy’s painting is just one of a growing body of work which has been created by artists worldwide in response to the attacks.
He said he has seldom seen such a reaction sweep across his network of artist colleagues, observing that they have created art which is thought provoking, soulful and poignant.
Based in Northern Ireland Tommy was born in Dromore and has a studio in Banbridge.
He has spent most of his working life in these towns.
The painting En plein Coeur will hang initially in the French Embassy before making its way to the National Collection.
Closer to home it may be viewed on Tommy’s web site at www.tbarr.com