Mc Nulty Coat of Arms

“Mc Nulty Coat of Arms”
Pen and Ink on Illustration Board
16″ x 20″ (matted)

This coat of arms drawing I created as a gift for the hospitality and generosity of the McNulty family of Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Ireland. When myself and about 10 others flew out there from Chicago a few years back, we all stayed with friends and family friends. This drawing was done for such a friend. In the center of the drawing you will find a heraldic lion and stag rearing up to the red hand of Ulster. Their mane and antlers erupt into the upper portion of the piece in an explosive abstraction. Beneath, the green that would be found on the standard coat of arms has been transformed in to the rolling fields of grass from Ireland herself. Patches of green hues checker the landscape all over the country but especially in the North. At the bottom left corners of the “shield” there are circles, each with an inscription inside. On the left it reads 1916 in Arabic numbers over corresponding Roman numerals. Reflected on the right 1981 written in the same fashion. These two years symbolize the Eastern rebellion when the Irish took up arms against the oppressive imperialistic British government in 1916. Further, 1981, the year Bobby Sands led the hunger striker prisoners at Long Kesh, better know as the Maze. They were protesting the termination Special Category Status for parliamentary inmates, thus treating them as common criminals without all the rights POW prisoners are afforded. Right to assemble, to receive correspondence, to wear their own clothes, etc. Sands along with 9 other republican prisoners were allowed to die by then PM Margaret Thatcher causing a land swell in radicalized Irish nationalist politics. This was a driving force that enabled Sinn Féin to become a mainstream political party. On the Sein Fein office in Belfast there is a large mural on the wall the focal point of which is a portrait of Bobby Sands. The blue chains breaking along the bottom of the composition are from that mural. With in the stone work that makes up the bottom of the “shield” it reads, “Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.”

• January 6, 2013

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