The RHA Gallery celebrates 200 yearsPadraig Conlon 22 May 2023
The oldest artist-led visual arts organisation in the country, The Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts (RHA Gallery), on Dublin’s Ely Place marks its 200th year with a host of celebrations to commemorate two centuries of promoting and showcasing contemporary Irish art.
Led by contemporary Irish artist Dr. Abigail O’Brien PRHA, who is the first female President of the Academy, the bicentennial year will be marked by a wide range of exciting and historic events including nationwide gatherings, anniversary exhibitions, a specially commissioned book and a commemorative stamp by An Post, to be unveiled in May.
Ireland’s largest and longest running open submission exhibition of visual arts, The RHA Annual Exhibition (RHA Annual), will open to the public from the 22nd May displaying painting, drawing, print, sculpture, photography and architectural models, at a wide range of price points.
Being selected for this exhibition is a huge opportunity for artists, particularly in this milestone year, with sales in excess of €550,000 in 2022. The RHA Annual attracts a large public and critical audience and is a key event for both public and private buyers of all levels.
“As we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the RHA Gallery, we must remember that art is not just for the privileged few, but for all”, according to Dr. Abigail O’Brien PRHA. “My vision for the gallery is to create a welcoming space that inspires and engages people from all walks of life.
“I hope to see more members of the public visiting the gallery, discovering new artists, and connecting with the power of art to enrich our lives and enhance our understanding of the world around us.
“Let us, together, continue to cultivate a vibrant community of artists and art lovers and ensure that the RHA Gallery remains a vital and inclusive cultural hub for the next 200 years.
“This gallery is open to all with no entry fee and the Margadh restaurant boasts lunch, dinner, wine and tasting menus.
“So, if you haven’t visited us or you would like to visit again – this is the perfect time to do so!”, she added.
As Director of the RHA Gallery, Patrick T. Murphy, who oversees major exhibition programmes, managed the complete refurbishment of the building on Ely Place, which reopened in 2009. He is playing a key role in the activities this year to mark the 200th anniversary and says,
“The RHA Gallery has been at the forefront of promoting and showcasing Irish art for two centuries.
“We are delighted to honour this important milestone in our history with a series of exhibitions and events, celebrating the rich history of the gallery and its role in shaping the cultural landscape of Ireland.”
World-renowned abstract painter, Sean Scully said “The RHA is the greatest space in Europe and I’ve seen them all.”
The RHA Gallery comprises state-of-the-art galleries, artist studios, a school, and meeting rooms for the membership of the Academy. As part of the celebratory events it will also host a series of talks and events, exploring the history and development of Irish art, as well as the role of the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts in shaping the cultural landscape of Ireland.
These events will provide an opportunity for art enthusiasts, historians, and the wider public to engage with the gallery’s history and to celebrate its contributions to Irish art and culture.
The RHA Gallery’s bicentennial celebrations promise to be a highlight of the Irish cultural calendar for 2023 and are not to be missed by anyone with an interest in Irish art and culture.
See full list of activities below in notes to editor.
For more information on the RHA Gallery’s bicentennial celebrations and upcoming events, visit their website at www.rhagallery.ie