In the early 1990s, community activist Martin Folan approached artist Mick O’Dea about working with Travellers.  O’Dea painted a series of nine close-up portraits of Traveller men and women, without any props or background identifying them as members of the Traveller community. He painted them, in his own words ‘without any emphasis on their status in life.’ Photo: Left to Right Artist Mick O’Dea with Martin Collins, Director Pavee Point.

Mick O Dea_Patrick McDonnell

Patrick McDonnell, Oil on Board, Navan 1992

The paintings lay in his studio on Henrietta Street for 24 years, until late 2014 when Pavee Point contacted him to know if they still existed.  In June 2015  the paintings were exhibited in the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin and will be on permanent display at Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, Dublin.

Mick O Dea_Michael Collins

Michael Collins, Oil on board, Navan 1992

Martin Folan is remembered for accompanying Travellers on a pilgrimage from Limerick to Gougane Barra.  Tragically, he took his own life in 2014. His contribution to Travellers and social justice won’t be forgotten.

Mick O Dea_Christina Lawrence

Christina Lawrence, Oil on board, Navan 1992

Thanks to The Kevin Kavanagh, Chancery Lane, Dublin – www.kevinkavanaghgallery.ie