"Emigrant Letter, Dear Eleanor"
Watercolour on paper
The Emigrant Letter series interink art with the expression of grief. The Emigrant Letters were painted after T.P. Flanagan returned from a sabbatical in New York. The works are inspired by letters from people who had emigrated to America, many in search of a better life. The imagery of the handwritten letter, overlaid with symbolic artefacts such as the open purse, represent a sense of yearning and loss. The artist said of them: ‘It is impossible not be moved by a kind of poignant naivete in so many of them. Written by people mostly unaccustomed to writing, or often by others on their behalf, their traditional phraseology stands in for feelings of raw grief.’ In a work such as ‘Ulster Pastoral’ with its ironic title (1991) the artist registers the imposition of an army watchtower on the landscape. However two of Flanagan’s most layered works related to the Northern Ireland political troubles are ‘Ulster Elegy’ (1971) and ‘Victim’ (1974).
Purchase supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Art Fund and the Friends of Fermanagh County Museum
The Artist's Estate