Described by Irish Times critic Ed Power as ‘a balm for the mind and spirit in a noisy, overwhelming world’ full review here
Comedian Colin Murphy alongside four other artists feature in The Secret Artists as they compete to get into the Royal Ulster Academy – Northern Ireland’s biggest art exhibition.
Creating for self-expression, identity or mental health we follow them as they succeed or cope with rejection if their art isn’t shown at the RUA – an exhibition which gives an opportunity for all artists – professionals and amateurs alike – to have their work on display at the Ulster Museum.
At its heart, it is about why we humans make art. Each artist has their story to tell. Comedian Colin Murphy took up painting during lockdown. Stephen Greer from Bangor, convicted of drug offences and formerly a paramilitary member, learned to paint in prison. For anxiety-sufferer Amy Wyatt and her mother Alice, a survivor of abuse, both also from Bangor, ceramics and print-making are more than hobbies: they’re life-lines. Farmer Thomas McNeill from Coleraine makes giant sculptures as a means of self-expression.
Directed and Produced by Hilary Fennell of Lennox Productions, who comments, ‘The exhibition gives artists the power to launch successful careers as unknown artists get the opportunity to share wall space with of our biggest stars. However, the standard is incredibly high and, out of over 2,000 works submitted to the open call only 200 will be selected. Some of our five artists have never had work in such a prestigious show before, so it was nerve-racking to see which, if any, of them got in.’ The programme also reveals, for the first time on television, the RUA selection process, judges include Dan Dowling, President, RUA; Simon McWilliams, Vice-President, RUA; and Kim Mawhinney, Senior Curator of Art, Ulster Museum; Cara Gordon, ARUA and Angela Hackett, ARUA.
Producer/ Director: Hilary Fennell, 2023
3 Rock Productions and Lennox Productions.
Available on BBC iPlayer from February 1 2023