The Lonely Passion Of Judith Hearne
We are writing to give you a bit of background on the piece of artwork that has replaced ( with permission) the Joyriding piece on the wall of the first building on Duncairn Avenue. It was commissioned to celebrate the work of the Antrim Road born writer Brian Moore, (born in 1921) a past pupil of St Malachy’s college, and a man who wrote many novels set in Belfast – including the one celebrated here: The Lonely Passion Of Judith Hearne.
Judith Hearne- the woman depicted in this painting is a woman “of a certain age”, that is, early 40’s, She is unmarried, alone, without friends, family, looks, or money. An orphan, she was raised by her Aunt D’Arcy, whom she nursed until the old woman, having run through the family wealth, finally died, leaving her niece a tiny annuity.
Written in 1955,,Judith is in many ways a product of her upbringing. A convent school education and Catholicism rule her judgments, particularly of her fellow Irish Protestant countrymen.
Trained in the womanly arts, she teaches a bit of embroidery and gives the occasional piano lesson, but neither occupation goes smoothly. Judy Hearne longs, above all else, to marry and have a family. Unfortunately, circumstance has left her lonely. The book’s themes explore social isolation, alcoholism, loss of faith and ageing in a way that is still very relevant for our society today, especially coming out of a pandemic.
THE IDEAS AND SIGNIFICANCE OF ITEMS IN THE PIECE
This artwork incorporates some of the things that are important to Judith’s life & story – the piano, (she’s a piano teacher) a bottle of whiskey (she is an alcoholic) religion, (as symbolised by the rosary beads) and a picture of her dear aunt.
The inclusion of red wildflowers and embroidery help frame what would have been expected of a woman in that era. Flower arranging and embroidery are ‘genteel’ occupations for a well to do lady- which Judith is pretending to be.
As a character Judith was adamant that red was her colour. Her red coat was the one bright item she had in her wardrobe. It makes her feel beautiful and alive. This is why red is dominant in the piece.
We hope you will feel it is a fitting celebration for an award-winning North Belfast writer who is not celebrated enough in the North of Ireland, and who around the world is recognised as a writer of great importance.
Please get in touch with us if you’ve any questions, we’d love to hear from you. We are also hoping to get the bottom of the building cleared of graffiti in the coming weeks.
Vittoria Cafolla and Mary Lindsay
email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter : @paradosso_theatre
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