Gavin Friday exhibition for Hugh Lane Gallery Dublin

The enigmatic artist has composed a sonata in tribute to Roger Casement

This Thursday sees the opening of Gavin Friday’s The Casement Sonata – a sonic response to the centenary of the execution of one of our most important historical figures.

Gavin worked closely with Dublin poet James McCabe to create a multi-movement sound piece that captures and transfers the essence of Casement's global odyssey. Blending sound elements from classical and ambient music, The Casement Sonata follows the classical structure - from order and disorder back to renewed balance - by selecting key moments of pressure and change in Casement's life; his capsized dinghy on Banna Strand, his early days in Africa, his later tribulations in Peru, his wartime stay in Germany and his final prison meditations all drawn on for inspiration.

Providing a unique portal into the mind and heart of one of the Rising's most notable protagonists, The Casement Sonata is infused with imagery and phrasing from Casement's own journals, letters and other intimate writings and renews the lost poetic of this global Irishman for a new era.

“The Casement Sonata is a long-form ambient poem exploring the life and death of Sir Roger Casement, one-time knight of the British Empire and the establishment's most threatening rebel spirit. By transforming the age-old argument between Celt and Saxon into a global conversation about human rights, Roger Casement upended nationalist rhetoric just as much as imperial reasoning, and set the scene for his own isolation and execution,” says Friday.

“Like Parnell and Wilde before him, Casement was a sophisticated Irishman who threatened the fabric of British hegemony and was deliberately targeted for his sexual behaviour as a reactionary countermove. Casement was a poet like several other key leaders of the Rising, but remains unique for his global profile and contemporary social relevance. Roger Casement is the Shakespearean tragic hero at the heart of the Irish revolutionary experience. The Sonata is his testament,” he continues.

The Casement Sonata will be played twice daily in the Hugh Lane at 12pm and 3pm and runs from 21 July to 21 August 2016.


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