IRISH WAVE 2015 group exhibitions in Beijing and Shanghai this March as part of the Irish Festival in China

Each IRISH WAVE  exhibition is theme based and also interlaced with a poem of WB Yeats as 2015 celebrates his birth 150 years ago. The Beijing shows will be opened by Alan Kelly TD, Irish Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government and the Ambassador of Ireland Paul Kavanagh will also be present.

Niamh C (med res) They will not Hush 110 x 160cm copy


“They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me ”  Oil on canvas, Ginko leaves 110 x160 cm

This post takes a look at some of my work that will be showing in the various shows. The following post will look at the highlights from these group shows once they have been installed over the coming days)

Golden Fleece: Inter Art Gallery, 798, Beijing, (March 15th -22nd) 

Opening reception March 15th at 3 pm all are welcome

Golden Fleece” is an exhibition of Irish and Chinese contemporary art in the ‘Year of the Ram’ and is inspired by the Yeats poem ‘Sailing to Byzantium.

*Bus Stop near andingmen 130 x 90cm low res


The quest for the Golden Fleece, like that of the Holy Grail, describes a universal aspiration, a search for meaning and the desire to leave a legacy.

Yunnan Hillside panorama Cunningham copy

The artists explore their own personal quests for meaning and elucidation through the media of textile and fibres, painting and mixed media artworks.

Yeat’s eco quotes:
These works take selected lines of poetry written with correction fluid on used hepa air filter paper.

“Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart”

*Mad as the Mist and Snow

Certain lines of poetry seem pertinent to our fragile planet. I think this link between the human condition and the natural world can speak volumes. How perhaps the natural world may express the human condition and in turn how our human condition affects and alters the earth.

“ I have spread my dreams under your feet,

Tread carefully because you tread on my dreams”


A Meditation at a Time of War- Dong Yue Art Museum- Beijing

Opening Reception March 16th 6pm (March 16th – 28th)

Please contact me at the back page of this site with your e mail address and I can send you a map and add your name to the guest list.

‘A Meditation in Time of War’ explores the difficult legacy of conflict across cultures and timelines in a range of media. The exhibition incorporates relevant texts from Yeats and Wing Tek Lum in English and as a complex poetic conversation about the meaning of war in our world. This year also marks the end of World War 2.

*Lonely Impulse of Delight Niamh Cunningham 110 x 146 cm copy

This work is based on the poem an “Irish Airman Foresees his Death”. The poem was written to honour the memory of Lady Gregory’s son Robert Gregory who died as a pilot in World War 1. There are two aircraft, the sopwith pup in the upper right represents Robert Gregory and the Black Hawk UH60 in the bottom left represents my bother Donie, Donal Cunningham CW2 (pilot), although not in combat, he died in service to the aviation section of the US army 20 years ago this August. May he rest in peace.

I want to thank Prof Fu Hao for the translation of this poem in Chinese which I use on the chinese version of this page.

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death W.B Yeats

I know that I shall meet my fate

Somewhere among the clouds above

Those that I fight I do not hate

Those that I guard I do not love

My country is Kiltartan cross

My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor

No likely end could bring them loss

Or leave them happier than before.

Nor law nor duty bade me fight

Nor public men, nor cheering crowds

A lonely impulse of delight

Drove to this tumult in the clouds;

I balanced all brought all to mind,

The years to come seemed waste of breath,

A waste of breath the years behind

In balance with this life, this death.

Small World – San Wei Art Centre, M50, Shanghai, March 20- 27th

Reception at 3 pm Saturday 21st will be opened by Irish  Vice Consul  General in Shanghai Eoghan Duffy

This group show focuses on the power of miniature artworks. A tiny scale can lead to a much deeper level of connection making it more immediate and intimate.

*Niamh Cunningham Stolen Child 1 Small world Small tank- Tuam 1925-1961Oil on Board 14.5 x 21 cm *Niamh Cunningham Stolen Child2 Small world- Small tank Tuam 1925-1961 Oil on Board 14.5 x 21 cm






The two works I have done here are also of an emotional nature. Confronting a painful collective past is difficult, to think about a time when unwed mothers had only one place to go and be removed from embarrassing an acutely conservative society ruled by the Church. Hearing the news story last year of the long closed Bon Secours Mother and Child Home  (1925- 1961) in Tuam, the media and the nature of the reporting of the small bodies in a septic tank deeply affected me. I needed to mark this in some way. I am hoping to say some things in these two small works, that there there is some kind of liberation and departure from the Church.


Intimate Perspectives Shanghai Grand Theatre Artist Talk March 23rd

These small works were made the year I lived in Carlow, Ireland in 2009.

Sandbags on Barrow 23 x 28 cm low res*Gate house St Dympnas 26 x 26 cm*Electric Picnic 08 Arts and Music Fest 26 x 26cm






IRISH WAVE founder Fion Gunn and artist/curators Brendan Jamison and Mark Revels will be giving presentations of the work in the March exhibitions and promoting the show at the San Wei  Art Centre in M50, Shanghai.

Another post on the highlights of these group shows to follow soon .

Bi lingual walk through tours:

Inter Art Gallery 798 – Golden Fleece: Saturday March 21st  11am,  Sunday March 22nd  3pm

Dong Yue Art Museum – A meditation in time of war: Saturday March 21st 3 pm , Sunday March 11am

Artists Talk  on WB Yeats and the Contemporary Visual will be hosted at the Embassy of Ireland on March 25th at 6.30pm

Seats are limited for this presentation, Prof Fu Hao a major translator of Yeats will also speak and tell us what he found in Anne Yeats (daughter) library . Please contact me if you are interested in attending.