Model-making toy boxes depicting images from the Troubles are being displayed in a new artistic exhibition aimed at stimulating debate on how the conflict is commemorated.
Dublin artist Tadhg McGrath has produced his own take on the well-known Airfix modelling kits, with participants from the region’s violent past as his main characters.
Stark images of paramilitaries and security force members have taken the place of subjects traditionally made by Airfix, such as Second World War soldiers.
McGrath said his work was an opportunity to consider the role art plays in understanding violence, particularly for those who grew up during the Troubles and also remember making Airfix models.
“The impetus to make this work comes from the nostalgic recall of playing with toy soldiers as a child, and an interest in how the conflict in Ireland is remembered and commemorated,” he said.
He added: “I hope that these works will act as conversation starters and will encourage viewers to reflect on the effect the conflict had, and consider it more as an emotional and visual experience, rather than a purely political one.”
McGrath’s work, entitled 23 Small Pieces, will open to the public in the Garter Lane Arts Centre in Waterford City on Friday and runs to April 29.
“I tried to make the work playful but not comic, and I am hopeful that the work seems wistful and thoughtful rather than romanticised,” he said.
“I wanted to make the artworks easy to approach, but also easy to ignore.”
Airfix’s owners Hornby said it had no comment to make on the exhibition.