Ciarán Harper (b.1992)

The Isms

90cm x 90cm

Courtesy of the artist.

Born in Leicester, but living and working in Belfast, Ciarán Harper is an artist who specialises in painting. He is a recent Fine Art graduate of Ulster University, Belfast. Within his practice, oil paint is united on canvas with raw mediums such as wax or plaster, adding dynamism and depth to the work. Collage and found imagery are both integral to his work, accompanied with harmonious and contrasting imagined elements. After a highly successful sell-out degree show and winning the prestigious Carson McDowell Award, Harper took a studio in Belfast, where he is currently occupied with a new body of work. He has completed several commissions and exhibited in both solo and group shows. His art has been purchased by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for its permanent collection.

Harper’s most recent work is ethnic inspired, having explored the theory of diaspora and how this can be translated in art in his dissertation. His mixed Irish and Caribbean roots play an important part in his background and images, notable in this piece, The Isms, on loan from the artist. Harper states that he created this work to reflect on identity, colourism and exoticism. He was inspired by theories around the exotic; of a fascination with otherness that leads to stereotype. Key symbols in this piece are the do-rag, an item used to protect and style Afro hair, and Caribbean flamingos, which are known to daub oil onto their feathers to make their colour richer in order to attract a mate.