Gallery: Pillars of Magherafelt community captured on canvas

PILLARS, an exhibition that celebrates people “who have made a positive influence on the Mid-Ulster community,” attracted an intimate and appreciative crowd at its opening night in the Bridewell on Monday.

The venue provided the perfect ‘gallery’ for the collection of portraits and drawings created by Maghera artist Brian Kielt, whose twins aims were to raise money for the NI Hospice (50 per cent of sales’ proceeds) and to profile unspoken heroes in the community, be it those involved in volunteering, public services, sport or employment.

Artist Brian Kielt beside a portrait of  Mid-Ulster Mail reporter Stanley Campbell during the opening night of his exhibition entitled Pillars at the Bridewell Magherafelt.INMM4713-367SR

Artist Brian Kielt beside a portrait of Mid-Ulster Mail reporter Stanley Campbell during the opening night of his exhibition entitled Pillars at the Bridewell Magherafelt.INMM4713-367SR

Joining Brian and his family at the wine and cheese reception were many of those depicted in the exhibition, including MAIL reporter Stanley Campbell, and Magherafelt Area Commander Chief Inspector Sam Donaldson.

For the onlooker, a highlight was observing the ‘pillars’ coming face-to-face with a large-scale representation of themselves - and attempting to conceal all emotion.

Several of the portraits were accompanied by a cartoon-type sketch of the subject, portrayed during their day-to-day duties, and which were arguably more revelatory in terms of character. Stanley’s character sketch, ‘Waiting for News,’ was a somewhat wry take on a seasoned hack.

The artist’s father, Brian Kielt senior, revealed that his son had spent months bringing the project to fruition. He stated: “I am very impressed with the work that Brian has done and the range of skill and the subtlety of the different pieces. The works do invite a closer look.”

Meanwhile, Archie Thompson, Chair of Magherafelt Arts Trust, praised Brian for his charitable venture, adding: “Your work is excellent Brian and I wish you every success.”

The showcase portrays a fraction of local ‘pillars’ - it is hoped that the charitable exhitibition will be the first of many to be held in the Mid-Ulster area.

The artist thanks the Liam Horner Gallery (framing), Magherafelt District Council (exhibition space), his family, and everyone who agreed to be represented by him.

Members of the public can view ‘Pillars’ at The Bridewell, Magherafelt, during the library’s opening hours up to mid-December.