The new exhibition of Irish Times’ cartoonist Martyn Turner’s work had its official launch at an event in EPIC, as part of The Jonathan Swift Festival.
‘The Times We Live In: Martyn Turner’s Satire’ features a collection of his most iconic drawings, is free to the public and will run from 29 November to 7 December.
Jessica Traynor, exhibition curator and Deputy Museum Director at EPIC, said: “I’ve always been a fan of satire – I consider it to be a thin blade of sanity in a crazy world – and when approached by the Swift Festival to curate something in response to the Festival’s theme of satire, Martyn’s work came immediately to mind.
“By his own admission, Martyn is a writer operating under the guise of a cartoonist, harking back to the cartoons of William Hogarth and James Gillray, both near contemporaries of Jonathan Swift’s. With his detached eye and his ability to cut to the quick, Martyn Turner is surely Swift’s successor,” said Traynor.
The Jonathan Swift Festival celebrates the life and legacy of Ireland’s most famous satirist and author Jonathan Swift.
Dr Sarah Cleary, Jonathan Swift Festival coordinator, spoke of what a privilege it was to have access to Martyn Turner’s studio, and in capturing the spirit of his work, quoted Jonathan Swift: “Satire is a sort of glass wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own; which is the chief reason for that kind reception it meets with in the world, and that so very few are offended with it.”
Historian Diarmaid Ferriter officially launched the exhibition and spoke of how much of the history of Ireland and Anglo-Irish relations that Martyn Turner has chronicled: “We have been exposed to his genius for 45 years now. It’s a sustained excellence and it’s unmatched.”
Mr Ferriter described Turner’s work as demonstrating exquisite sympathy and wild humour: “We can trust Martyn to get to the bone, to signpost the trouble we are storing up and continue to store up, we can trust Martyn to give us a boot up the transom.” Mr Ferriter concluded by saying “He has always kept the flame of satire burning and we all owe him a huge debt.”
Mervyn Greene, Managing and Museum Director of EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, welcomed the audience to the event.
The retrospective explores Martyn Turner’s work under three themes. ‘Gullible’s Travels’ is a Swiftian selection of cartoons in which ‘Gullible’ comes back to Ireland after a 400 year absence. ‘Plus Ca Change’ features cartoons reminding us that history has a tendency to repeat itself. ‘The Politicians We Deserve’ features close-to-the-bone political caricatures and Turner’s chronicling of current affairs.