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Ennis artist presents rare works in documentary
Artist Mick O Dea. Photograph by John Kelly.

Ennis artist presents rare works in documentary

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ENNIS artist Mick O’Dea has been given unprecedented access to the State’s art collection housed in Leinster House for a landmark one-hour documentary, which will debut on Monday.

For the first time in broadcasting history, the collection will be showcased in House of Art. Having been given unprecedented access, Royal Hibernian Academy president, Mick O’Dea, discovers the stories, the artists and the people behind this unique collection, revealing a rich tapestry of our socio-political history.

The documentary, produced by Red Shoe Productions, will be launched with a premiere screening in The Little Museum of Dublin, where Mick and director Maggie Breathnach will do a question and answer session.The documentary will then debut on Oireachtas TV on Monday at 8pm.

There are over 300 pieces of priceless art housed in Leinster House. With the foundation of the State in 1922, successive governments were keen to create a pantheon of heroes aimed at affirming national self-image. With over 18,000 pieces in the State collection, only 300 have been chosen to sit on the walls of Leinster House.

The documentary travels beyond the walls of the house to meet the artists who were commissioned to produce work. Mr O’Dea also meets with the team who hold the responsibility to preserve and restore pieces within the collection and he speaks with the longest serving ushers who look at the art every day and find out their favourites and not so favoured pieces.

As Ireland’s most celebrated and esteemed historical and portrait painter, Mr O’Dea’s journey into the collection reveals a compelling and untold story of how Irish art and political history collide.

The documentary will provide viewers and students of art, history and politics with unprecedented access to work that is seldom seen by the public, housed in a building which is even more elusive and rarely explored.

Large portraits of Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet stand facing each other at either end of the Seanad anti-chamber, while 12 portraits of former taoisigh sit on the walls outside the Dáil chamber, a constant reminder to new TDs of how power is a delicate balance.

Ennis artist Mick O'Dea will present a TV documentary Houses of Art, based on rare works in the Houses of the Oireachtas.

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