Wandering Rocks a series of portraits currently showing at ‘Odyssey the Return’

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These portraits take the roles of some of characters in Wandering Rocks the 10th chapter of Ulysses. Most of the characters in the book appear or are referred to in the 10th Chapter. This Chapter doesn’t have a direct Homeric parallel. The Wandering Rocks is the route not taken by Odysseus on his return journey to Ithaca. He was advised by Circe that these drifting rocks would cause havoc and that he should not go this way.

In Ulysses this chapter is a disjointed portrait of Dublin’s tossing wreckage of an ordinary day. The people are always on the move making pathways throughout Dublin. In the background to the city day is the Cavalcade with the Viceroy (the Kings representative in Ireland at the time), which is travelling through the streets on his way to a hospital fundraiser.

The portraits are mostly of people in my life here in Beijing and Ireland, family, friends, students, fellow artists and curators, They are recast to play different roles characters for The Wandering Rocks.

There are 19 mini stories  with this Chapter, I have a portrait or more for each section.

Section 1:

Father Comnee walks and reflects to himself on various things.  He meets some school boys , he asks one to post a letter into the box. He also meets some well married women such as Mrs Sheehy and Mrs Mrs M’Guinness. He reflects on the new reports from the previous day ‘the General Slocom explosion’ (the biggest US disaster in since 9/11). A young couple emerge from a bush and he blesses them gravely.

Belvedere School boy. Český Wednesday(TP) oil on canvas, 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham 2010

Mrs Sheehy. Connoisseur EDWP, oil on canvas 50x50cm

Mrs M’Guinness.Guli  acrylic on canvas 50x 50cm 2019

Section 2:

Corny Kelleher examines the lid of a coffin at O Neills funeral home where he works, he exchanges pleasantries with Constable 57 C

Wood crafter Kelleher. Reader in Red  oil on canvas 50x50cm (2011)

Section 3:A one legged sailor sings a pro English song, two barefoot street urchins deliver a coin to him which has been flung out of a window for him

Street Child1. Princess of Daxing oil on canvas 50x50cm

Section 4:

Dedalus siblings Katey and Boody return home and enquire of their sister Maggie what is boiling in the two pots on the stove. One has boiled shirts the other has pea soup given by sister Mary Patrick .


Katie Dedalus. Little singer A C   oil on canvas 50x50cm

Mary Patrick .Praha Café C.C. oil on canvas 80x 60cm 2010

Section 5

Blazes Boylan buys a gift basket for Molly. As he makes arrangements for the basket’s delivery and payment he flirts with the shop assistant.

Boylan.Blazer Blue  oil on canvas 50x50cm

Section 6

Almidano Artifoni and Stephen converse in Italian. Stephen decides not to pursue a lucrative singing career.


Artifoni.,Paper AficionadoCF acrylic on canvas 50x50cm 2019

Section 7

Miss Dunne , Boylan’s secretary hides a sensational novel “The woman in White” in the back of her desk drawer. Boylan phones to reschedule a meeting.


Miss Dunne .Healer GC acrylic on canvas 2019

Section 8

Ned Lambert gives a  tour of the old Chapter house of St Marys Abbey  to Hugh C Love.  Love leaves , Lambert Sneezes

Lambert Sneeze. Todays news TC oil on canvas 80 x 60cm

Section 9

Tom Rochford shows his invention of a machine showing what is on in the music Hall . Later Lenehan chats with MCoy. MCoy shows lack of amusement at Lennehans story of the Jaunting car. They are under Merchants Arch and see the back of a dark figure of Bloom

MCoy.Daxing Memory oil on canvas 50x50cm

Section 10

Bloom leafs through books and questions the cycles of birth and death pregnancy , He decides on a book for Molly

Molly Penelope.FG  acrylic on canvas, 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham/瑞莲 2019

Section 11

Dilly waits for her father Simon at Dillons auction house.  Simon is at his most despicable , Dilly is embarrassed by his uncouth imitation of her posture.


Dilly Dedalus. Explorer NW /探险者 oil on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham/瑞莲2014

Section 12

Mr Kernan pleased with himself after closing a business deal speaks with Mr Crimmons . Kernan preens himself physically and mentally. Lost in his musing on politics he misses the cavalcade.

Kernan lost in musings. Praha Attic oil on canvas 50x50cm

Section 13

Stephen is caught in philosophical wanderings then he sees his sister Dilly. He decides he cannot save her as feels she will drown him with her .


Stephen Dedalus. Bruno C.C 50x50cm acrylic on canvas (2019)

Section 14

Simon meets Fr Cowley waiting for Ben Dollard who has just crossed the ha’penny bridge to help call off debt collectors

Simon Dedalus . Singing Nomad (BH) oil on canvas 50x50cm

Section 15

Martin Cunningham talks about collection of money for  Dignam’s family.  John Wyse Nolan notes Bloom contribution is already paid in full. With Jack Power, John Wise Nolan ,they pass Dublin Castle  , bump into Jimmy Henry and meet  John Fanning  the Subsherrif , the viceregal cavalcade passes .

Martin Cunningham.Ally -Eddie acrylic on canvas 50 x 50 cm 2019

Section 16

Buck Mulligan and Haines enter Dublin Bakers Company tearoom, they  see Howard Parnell  (brother of famous but recently deceased Charles Stewart Parnell) city marshall playing chess . They talk about Stephen and say he can never be a poet

Buck Mulligan. Tai Shan cablecar CJ acrylic on canvas 50x50cm 2019

Section 17

Cashel Boyle O’Connor Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell walk in front of Almidano Artifoni

Heading towards Merrion square. Paths cross  Bloom’s dental window,  and bump into the walking cane of blind man.

L Bloom/Prayer to Nature acrylic on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham/瑞莲2019

Section 18

Young Patrick Aloysius Dignam son of late paddy Dignam dawdles back from butchers to avoid the funeral reception. The school boy Patrick collar stud is uncomfortable, he remembers his fathers struggle to say his last words.

Patrick A Dignam jnr. Little Piano Man oil on canvas 50x50cm

Section 19

Cavalcade going to hospital fundraiser and passes by or within sight of almost every character in Wandering Rocks except for Fr Comnee , Bloom and Stephen

Viceroy . Eagle, acrylic on canvas 50x50cm Niamh Cunningham/瑞莲 2019

Link to China Daily article