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The citizen was based on stills from a 1980 news report about the IRA ‘dirty protest’. After the government revoked their Special Category status and began to treat them as ordinary criminals, inmates in Long Kesh decided to wear only prison blankets and to daub their cell walls with excrement. Hamilton wrote that he could not ‘condone the methods’ of the IRA, but was struck by the resemblance to Christian martyrdom. He also felt a connection to the prisoners since they had produced ‘wall paintings’. One panel shows the prisoner and his cell; the other is more abstract, an unconfined space.

November 2015