Colin McGookin


Colin McGookin is a prominent visual artist with vast experience within the arts sector. Colin has co-founded Queen Street Studios and the Artists Collective of Northern Ireland. He was elected associate member of the Royal Ulster Academy in 1989 and has won several awards and commissions including first prize at the prestigious Claremorris Open. Colin has been an arts facilitator and lecturer for numerous respected organisations and institutions both locally and internationally. He is currently Arts Care Artist in Residence for the South Eastern trust where his positive engagement with the community is highly commended.

As our C.S. Lewis Festival this year is based around the joys and surprises of east Belfast we were excited to hear from Colin about his experiences growing up in the east. Colin paints a picture of his past with words which help us navigate the inspirations embedded in his work.

"I was born in 1958 and grew up in Irwin Drive in East Belfast. I clearly remember playing in the narrow alleys and bin lanes and waste ground around here and my grandfathers house in Cheviot Avenue. We would go to the many shops on Upper Newtownards Road and Holywood Road and under the Arches. They are happy memories. My parents moved us to Bangor in 1967 where all of my secondary schooling took place. When I graduated from Belfast College of Art and got married my wife and I bought our first home in Portallo Street in East Belfast in 1984. In 1993 we moved to Belmont Avenue in East Belfast close to my old home and Strandtown primary school where 3 generations of McGookins attended. We had a mid terrace house with a lovely big garden and a garage which acted as a great studio space. It was here we started our family with the birth of our daughter Cora in 1995 and son Max in 2000. 

 In 2011 we left East Belfast and moved to the Dromara area of the Mourne Mountains where we can still see the Cavehill and yellow cranes of the East in the distance.

 The work in this exhibition is a selection of paintings made during the time I lived in East Belfast."

Colin's current exhibition 'The joy of Eastern Composition' has been curated by ArtisAnn and is hosted in the EastSide Gallery which is in fact close to where the artist grew up. According to the curators, the exhibiton "reflects both the turbulent history of Northern Ireland, as well as the colour, sadness and joy Colin personally experienced during those years. His unique style and vision are widely admired and recognised, as he has exhibited across the UK, Ireland and internationally"


Solo Exhibition of Paintings by Colin McGookin RUA entitled 'The Joy of Eastern Composition' will be exhibiting in: 

EastSide Visitor Centre - 2nd Floor Gallery

19 October - 19 November 2017


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