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Jack Pakenham, b.1938

National Identity Crisis 11995

‘My work has always been an attempt to convey in visual terms some aspects of the Human Drama to give a visual vocabulary to psychological states such as anxiety, or depression, to portray distrust, bigotry, hatred, tenderness all within imagined theatrical situations which have multiple readings. This is the theatre of Enigma first explored in the work of Magritte and di Chirico, to which the spectator must bring his, or her, own interpretations, which can change at every new reading. For quite a few years this drama was dominated by the political scene in N.Ireland, taking on board the violence, the bombings, the maimings, the intimidation, the “turn a blind eye” attitudes of rabble-rousing politicians with their hypocrisy, bigotry, and hatred. Since the Ceasefires and the reduction of the more obvious trapping of this violence, some of the anger portrayed in these paintings has disappeared and the work has become more lyrical incorporating visited landscapes such as Southern Spain, Donegal, the Mojave Desert with its Native American artefacts and petraglyphs along with a re-assessment of early work which embraced landscape-based abstraction, head studpies etc. I like to think of my work as continuing the tradition of figurative poetic narrative, established by Northern Artsits – Colin Middleton, Dan O’Neill and Gerard Dillon.’ Jack Pakenham artist’s statement

MediumAcrylic on canvas
Dimensions Unframed, 210 x 360 cm
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 2006
Item NumberIMMA.1989
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
Image Caption
Jack Pakenham, National Identity Crisis 1, 1995, Acrylic on canvas, Unframed, 210 x 360 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 2006

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

Jack Pakenham b.1938

Irish artist Jack Pakenham studied French, Spanish and Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast and taught at Ashfield’s Boy’s Secondary School, Belfast from 1961. In 1990 he turned to painting full time. Pakenham was elected an Academician of the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts in 1987. He has exhibited extensively since the early 1960s and his work can be found in numerous collections including the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; the Office of Public Works and The Model, Sligo.

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Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June. A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. There are three exhibitions to visit  Hilary Heron: A Retrospective; Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s shop, café and gardens are all open.