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THE COMPLEX PRESENTS

AN EXHIBITION BY MACRO SENIOR CITIZENS PAINTING GROUP 2023


Exhibition Run: 22 - 23 November

Preview: 22 November 1pm - 3pm

Gallery Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm, Saturday 12pm - 5pm


During a friendly catch up with visual artist Sibyl Montague a few months back I found out that she ran a painting class in one of The Complex’s neighbor organisations MACRO Community Resource Centre. The class is called MACRO Senior Citizen Painting Group and I was immediately excited and curious tonmeet this group of painters. Sibyl was more than obliging and invited me around one Tuesday afternoon to meet Maureen, Mary, Michael, Olive, Michael, Valerie, and Ann. I was smitten with the paintings I saw, and the group as a whole. Each member had their own style of painting, which for me, correlated with their personality. We chatted briefly about the activity of painting and what it meant to them. It seems to me that it was a way to keep busy, to bring people together, and ultimately a way of expressing oneself. I was educated on social histories from Dublin City, ranging from the TV Club housed on Harcourt Street and various clubs in Dublin City to Moore Street Market and shop fronts along Bolton Street.


One thing that hit me – the group unanimously expressed that they don’t consider themselves artists, which Sibyl regularly challenges them on of course. The thought of being an artist to them requires formal training of some sort. However, it’s their informal way of making paintings that I'm drawn to. It’s a necessary part of living for them, much like cleaning the house or making dinner. The Complex has invited the MACRO Senior Citizen Painting Group to present an exhibition at The Complex. This will consist of paintings by each member of the group spanning from recent to much older works, selected by

myself and Sibyl. Special thanks to Sibyl Montague, Maureen Ashe, Mary Doyle, Michael Dignam, Olivia Hartnet, Michael Maher, Valerie Moore, Ann Murray, & MACRO Community Resource Centre.



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Maureen Ashe

I was born in 1949 in Hollow Street hospital on the 9 th April. My mother used to say that when I was born, a new star was made in the sky. I grew up in Pearse Street, Dublin. I started painting in Hallsen Street in 2003. I wanted to do something creative and it was good for me. You might get a tin of paint as a gift, like a coloring box. I loved it. I was years down there. I remember having a matchbook set and making furniture with it and painting it. In my day, we started working at 14 years old. I was 14 when I left school. I stopped working in 1956.


Mary Doyle

I was born in Inchicore 1941, 6 th September. I went to the famous Sisters of Mercy. They were from the Golden Bridge Orphanage and what happened there. I started painting in the early 2000s. I needed an outlet. I was surprised how much I liked it. I was so clueless about it. I like the focus of it. I think I'm more graphic. I like to sit and draw at Balbriggan Harbour. My father was from Inchicore and my mother was from outside Buttevant, Cork. He was young when the Black and Tans were brought in, in the 1920s. He saw all the men being pulled onto the street and lined up by the Black and Tans. My father was 67 and my mother was 53.


Michael Dignam

I was born in 1941, Ranelagh, Dublin. I’m 82 years old. I started painting maybe ten years ago. I had time on my hands. I's relaxing. I like painting in groups. I started working at 16. I worked at O' Keffee's on Mill street. They used to bring the horses there but they would want the horse shoes back. The meat would go to the greyhounds. The smell was so bad they used to say you'd never get the flu around here. The owners of the greyhounds would show up with big wads of money in their pockets. They'd buy the big pieces of meat.


Olive Hartnett

I was born in 1932, in no.2 Linenhall Parade Dublin 7. I lived here all my life. Growing up, we played on the street. My Mam ran a shop on Church Street. A clothing shop. We played beds (hopscotch). We always had a skipping rope. My Dad used to have a horse and cart and it was replaced with a lorry. He made deliveries, he worked very hard. I started painting when my children had grown up. Sister Carmel came from the Loretto nuns and moved to the Parish. She asked us what we'd like to do and she started the classes. I never find it easy, you have to study it. I love mixing the colours and painting flowers. It gets you out of the house and with company.


Michael Maher

I was born in 1930, in the Liberties, Blackpitts. I was a joiner. I started painting in 2010. It was a bad winter. I was too old to be going out galavanting. I paint most days. It doesn't matter. As it takes me. I could paint for four hours straight.


Valerie Moore

I was born in 1951, Rotunda, Cabra West. That was me home town. I used to draw. It was kinda in me. Years ago we used to collect the postcards and a tin of glue and we'd cut them up to make stories. I loved it. We'd swap them under the lamp posts. We were never inside in those days. After Christmas I'd collect the Christmas cards and make a scrapbook. My mother used to say “see those houses, call to them.They have a doorbell, they're the ones with money.” I paint in the house. It keeps you going, keeps you alive. The house would be upside down and you close the door. It just takes you like that. I'm here about six years (Macro Senior Citizen Painting Group). I don't know what made me. I like the colours. When you're sitting at home it might cross your mind, “I'd like to paint that”. I started work at 13 and a half. Bachelors Factory was me first. In those days you had to be 14 (to start working). My mother said, “you go down and buy a (hair) net and go up to Bachelors”. I was working on the strawberry line. Taking the green bits off the strawberries on the belt. The money was great.


Ann Murray

I was born in 1955, Corporation Building, Dublin 1. In the Monto. I came about nine years ago (Macro Senior Citizen Painting Group). I had never picked up a crayon before that. I really enjoy painting.




For further info and images: contact Mark O’Gorman, Visual Arts Manager.

mark.ogorman@thecomplex.ie / 085 1433 858


The Complex is proudly supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and Dublin City Council.



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