Artwork depicting chaos of Brexit hangs on side of Trinity Long Room Hub building

Posted on: 31 January 2020

Brexit is finally upon us. Britain will leave the European Union on Friday night at 11pm. To mark this momentous day, an artwork by the artist Rita Duffy, The Raft Project 2019, will hang on the side of the Trinity Long Room Hub building until Wednesday, February 19th.

The photomontage, measuring 9.2metres x 5.7metres, is a response by the artist to Brexit and re-invents French painter Théodore Géricault’s oil on canvas, The Raft of the Medusa (1818-19), which depicts the shipwreck of French frigate Méduse in 1816.


Made in consultation with border communities, The Raft Project 2019 is a response to Brexit chaos. Layers of symbolism reflect the reality of border dwellers. In the work, a group of men holding Irish and British flags wave at the Titanic on the horizon. The famous ship, built in Belfast between 1909-12 and shipwrecked in 1912, has often been used as a metaphor for disaster – if also a source of pride for many communities in Northern Ireland – and has frequently cropped up in discussion of Brexit.

Describing the work artist Rita Duffy said:

The ingredients for Irish stew lie scattered among vulnerable bodies, remnants of sectarian flags taken from Belfast lamp posts, wrap worn out muscle and bone. A man points to the horizon, wearing an image of the president of Bulgaria on his T-shirt and bearing a small pot of shamrock, he points us towards the future – a future beyond prejudice and nationalist obsession.


The Raft Project will also be installed in several prominent city locations in London and Paris once it leaves Trinity on February 19th.

Rita Duffy is artist in residence at the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Institute for Spring 2020. Born in Belfast, Rita was awarded a B.A. from the Art & Design Centre and an M.A. in Fine Arts at the University of Ulster. She is one of Northern Ireland’s groundbreaking artists who began her work concentrating primarily on the figurative/narrative tradition. Her art is often autobiographical, including themes and images of Irish identity, history and politics. Rita Duffy was elected to Aosdana in 2017.

Founded in 2006, the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute is dedicated to advancing Trinity College Dublin’s rich tradition of research excellence in the Arts and Humanities, on an individual, collaborative and inter-disciplinary basis. Since 2010, the institute’s home is a signature building at the heart of the historic campus.

The building’s striking modernity expresses the interaction between the past and the present that the arts and humanities enable and enact. There will be several events in 2020 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the building. Since 2016, Trinity’s Arts and Humanities have been exploring the fallout and potential implications of Brexit on Anglo-Irish relations and the future of this island and Europe more generally. Read more here

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