Burns exhibition looks at ‘Troubled Images’ (Boston Chronicle)

Burns exhibition looks at ‘Troubled Images’
Patricia Delaney (Boston Chronicle)
27 February 2003

Writing for the Boston Chronicle (newspaper for Boston College), Patricia Delaney writes, “Burns exhibition looks at ‘Troubled Images’”:

A compelling exhibition of political and terrorist propaganda posters created during the conflict in Northern Ireland begins its international tour at the John J. Burns Library on March 3.

“Troubled Images,” which will run through April 15 and is free and open to the public, comprises 70 posters never before displayed in America. The exhibition illustrates the Northern Ireland experience since the beginning of The Troubles and includes pieces reflecting all sides in the conflict, from loyalist paramilitary posters to those related to hunger strikes and the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, among others.

These posters literally have been removed from lampposts, walls and other public display areas during the 30 years of the conflict, according to exhibition organizers.

The exhibition comes to Boston College from a yearlong show at Linen Hall Library, the oldest library in Belfast, which houses the Northern Ireland Political Collection from which the “Troubled Images” project is drawn. Following its initial BC engagement, “Troubled Images” will travel to Washington, DC, with future stops scheduled across the United States before it moves abroad.

“We are delighted to be the inaugural site for this Northern American tour,” said Burns Librarian Robert O’Neill. “This exhibition brings home to people, in the starkest manner possible, what has been going on in Northern Ireland for the past 30 years.”

In addition to the posters, the exhibition will include some artifacts such as plastic bullets and sectarian memorabilia. A speaker series and selected film screenings – details of which will be released shortly – also will accompany the exhibition.

“The artifacts, in combination with the posters, will give visitors a unique glimpse at one of the longest and most bitterly contested internal conflicts in modern European history,” said O’Neill.

The traveling show is one element of a much larger “Troubled Images” project. The poster exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated book that is the first major published exploration of the posters of the Northern Ireland conflict, and a CD-ROM that includes some 3,500 posters and artifacts from the Northern Ireland Political Collection, as well as notes and essays on important events and themes by leading experts in the field and audio interviews with key poster designers. Linen Hall Library presented Boston College with a copy of the CD in April 2002.

“Whether we are speaking of exhibition, book or CD-ROM, our first intention is to open doors to understanding, and in an accessible way, for our own community-after all they produced the material,” said Linen Hall Librarian John Gray.