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The Complex has a proactive approach to engaging people from the community to take part in its programme. 'The Girl with the Blue Umbrella' is the first of our 2022 Community Initiative visual art exhibitions with Andrea Martin, extending the use of the Gallery, its curator and technicians to realise the exhibition, and furthering our relations with neighbours EPIC.
Andrea Martin is a painter, poet, singer, healer and a warrior. Her story is a remarkable ongoing odyssey through trauma, addiction, healing and redemption. Whilst being a very private person, Martin manages to be incredibly generous with her experiences through her art, her songs and her laser-sighted advocacy. Andrea spent much of her childhood in the care system being transferred between many units in 1990s Ireland. After she left care, she spent much of her twenties in addiction. About a decade ago, she put down the bottle and picked up the brush. As well as being a mother, and artist and a singer, her full-time job is working on the front-line with people who are experiencing severe addiction issues. She has also been an important voice speaking about the rights of children currently in the care system.
“I used to be in the dark, until I painted my life in colour”
Andrea has had numerous successful exhibitions in art centres all over her native Dublin and has sold her paintings nationwide. Her style is at once evocative, poignant, light, abstract and unique. Art has been an essential part of her own recovery and she offers tireless encouragement to people to use art to get through their own trauma. She is a founder member of the Blues band Mama Martin who have lit up venues up and down Ireland and the UK with their electrifying performances winning rave reviews. As stunning as the art that is on display here, you should really get to see her bands frenetic live show. Martin’s art reflects her experiences as a young woman growing up in a hostile environment where her biggest crime was being herself. Full of humour, humanity and soul, The Girl with the Blue Umbrella is an enthralling, bittersweet exposition one of the most interesting and important undiscovered artists in Ireland.
The Complex will continue its proactive engagement with people in the community throughout 2022. Soon we will see the start of some dedicated projects with schools, local groups and community projects to introduce them to contemporary and modern art, guiding them through a process of understanding and demystification, with the hope of achieving appreciation and value.