‘Look What We Have Gone Through’: Representation and Memory in the Bogside Murals in Northern Ireland
Murals have been painted on the outside walls of houses and businesses in Northern Ireland and have functioned as visual evidence of people’s experiences of the conflict known as the Troubles. Created in 1994, The People’s Gallery is a series of twelve murals painted by three local artists in the Bogside district in Derry. This article examines how the murals ‘remember’ the conflict, what stories are included or excluded, how ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ are portrayed, and how the depiction of the past relates to the present. The analysis shows that the murals focus on the Bogside’s own experiences, portraying ‘Us’ as victims and as activists. The Other is represented directly by the image of the British army/RUC, and indirectly by the image of the chaos and violence caused to ‘Us’. Due to the lack of sectarian messages, The People’s Gallery can have a positive use as a storytelling tool in Northern Ireland’s current transitional scenario.