Gallery owner hopes more locals will frequent his shop

By Raefa Alsalah

People come from all over to the Liberties’ historic art and antiques quarter that some say houses some of the most eclectic and dynamic works of art.

Among those places is Gallery Zozimus.

The gallery has a collection of art made by noted painters, ceramicists and up-and-coming talent.

“Most of the work, 95 percent, there’s probably more, is Irish,” said Vincent Kelly, owner and gallery director of Zozimus.

Among those artists is Damien Redmond, a Dublin painter whose studio is located along Frances Street. Redmond’s artwork hangs in the gallery.

“Vincent and his [business] partner are amazing at what they do, and I look forward to continuing to work with them,” said Redmond.

Although Kelly is grateful for all his customers who travel to Dublin 8 to visit Zozimus, he wishes more people in the Liberties would visit the gallery.

“We would love the local community to come in and out because while it’s an art gallery, there are pieces here in the ceramic gallery from 20 euro and up. So it’s not out of people’s reach,” said Kelly.

Many people think art galleries are only for the rich, which is not always the case, he said.

“We’re trying to encourage people to come in and enjoy the art, so we do try to work with people in the community.”

In an effort to encourage the residents, Kelly participates in several local annual events.

One of which is the Liberties Festival, which has been a summer-time staple in the community since 1970.

A photograph exhibition for the festival, titled “Taking Liberties” by Sean McCarthy, was held in Gallery Zozimus.

“Vincent and the team were fantastic in allowing us to use that space,” said Shirley Chance, the Liberties Festival arts programmer and publicity manager. “They were so open and accommodating, and went above and beyond to take care of us.”

Gallery Zozimus also works with the National College of Art and Design on the school’s ceramic show. Lisa Young, a lecturer at the college, said they approached the gallery with the plan and have had similar partnerships in the past. The collaboration has provided a great experience on many levels for the students who participated, she said.

Alongside its community work, the gallery is also working with the charity Friends for Friends. Kelly distributed Guinness pint glasses to a multitude of artists, who then painted their own designs on the glasses. Several of those glasses were auctioned off for the charity, while the others were displayed in the gallery to be sold, with all the profits going to the charity.

Kelly started as a buyer of ladies fashions but soon became involved with the art world. “I collected all the time, and I was always very interested in art.”

“There’s two forms of art, really. There’s art for investment, and there’s art for your own pleasure. I’d love to believe that people buy art for their own pleasure. If it goes up in value, brilliant. If it doesn’t, just look at the pleasure you’re getting from just looking at it and enjoying it, and that’s a pleasure I’ve had my whole life.”

Raefa Alsalah was part of a team of students from Columbia College Chicago who traveled to Ireland to report and write about the Liberties.

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