Jimmy (46) - Belfast - The struggle of the women in the Armagh jail, a representation of his mother before jail, and how frail she was when she was released two years later. Been to jail twice, injured three times during the riots in the 90s. © Erik Messori

The Red Barn Gallery is pleased to announce Independence On The Skin with Italian photographer and co-founder of the collettive CAPTA , Erik Messori:

Occupation, nationalism, and struggles with identity plague our world’s history. In Ireland in particular, hundreds of years of British rule - which is argued to be the longest war of occupation in the world - has produced generation after generation of independent-minded Irish who have fought for their national identity. Their names are related to infamous organisations, such as the IRA and other pro-independence organizations. Even if there is a treaty of truce, these women and men remain in the fight to achieve their dream of independence.

Their tattoos tell the painstaking story of their lives, fallen friends, past actions. Their bodies bear indelible writings of an ideal and the human price paid to conquer it. Every drop of ink under their skin carries the memory of ancestors and comrades who died in this invisible war. Much has been written about them, especially in the seventies and eighties, during a series of attacks that seemed to never end, and in the collective conscience they are considered to be terrorists and subversive, but little - or almost nothing - is really known about them. This photographic account is an insight into their world, and it serves as a proof of adamant willingness to not give up, but to continue to fight for an Ireland that they will be able to cal their own. 

Erik Messori (b.1973) focuses his work on photojournalism and reports on both national and international issues. His professional development has included attending Gianni Berengo Gardin seminars on photography in Milan. Messori’s works have been published in: National Geographic Italia, I’OBS Magazine, The Guardian, CNN, Wired Magazine Italia, Vision Magazine, Private Magazine, Corriere della Sera, La Stampa, Le Journal de la Photographie, Photojournale, The Australian, Out of Focus Magazine, Bite Magazine, Visura Magazine, PeaceReporter Magazine. He is co-founder of the collective CAPTA and a portion of his project on Chernobyl has been published in the volume Connections across a Human Planet (Photojournale 2009) and his Coal Mines image has been published in the book Bonded Labor (Columbia University NYC 2012). He has been recognised with many international awards. 


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