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Artist’s own Troubles with special memorial

Article by Matthew McCreary for Belfast Telegraph March 08, 2007 .

UU graduate receives good response from public

A Belfast artist has marked Northern Ireland’s Assembly elections in a unique way yesterday with a special memorial to the victims of the Troubles.

But Christoff Gillen (38), a graduate of the University of Ulster’s art college, was told to stop tying pieces of card bearing the names and details of more than 3,700 victims of the Troubles to the railings of the City Hall in Belfast as he had not sought permission from the council in advance.

“They said I was defacing council property,” he revealed.
“They said if I carried on they would call the police.
“I had got about 300 up by then.”

Mr Gillen continued to hang the cards from a tree outside the City Hall grounds and said he had received a good response from members of the public.
Mr Gillen carried out a similar exercise in 2003 during the run-up to the war in Iraq, when he wrote the names of Ulster’s Troubles’ victims in white chalk on the pavement around the City Hall.
The aim of his latest work was to highlight the significance of the elections for the province.

“This was an important day for the future of Northern Ireland,” he said.
“Since 1994 we have come on in leaps and bounds. We’re moving forward, but we have a good bit to go
and the future can be a lot brighter.
“It’s important that we remember those who have died. We have a voice, but those people are voiceless.
By doing this they will have a voice.”

He continued: “This is a reminder of what’s happened and what still needs to be done. The Assembly has
to be up and running again.

“We have to deal with the bread and butter issues such as education, health and employment.”
A spokesman for Belfast City Council said Mr Gillen had not requested permission to carry out the work.
“Any activity involving the City Hall or its grounds requires permission from council,” he said.
“It is not permitted to hang anything from council railings without prior permission of the council.

Go to Make it matter performance documentation.