A4 Sounds: Who Is the Left Wing Art Collective Sucking Up Art Subsidies?

You’d be forgiven for overlooking A4 Sounds’s art studio, situated just before the Mater Hospital in the bosom of Dublin’s north-inner city. Ensconced firmly in O’Casey country just off Dorset street, the gallery and workspace has been catering for a largely left leaning coterie of artists and activists since its foundation in 2009.

A dual purpose workspace and micro gallery, A4 Sounds wears its ideological credentials on its sleeve, providing a launch pad for left wing artists and activists throughout the city. With former exhibitions titled ‘QUEER UTOPIA’ and ‘Liturgía’, highlighting the experiences of trans people of colour, the gallery’s politics is firmly on the intersectional side.

Currently, the art space is occupied by visiting artist Fiadh Trevaskis Hoskin. with her expo ‘Our Demands Are Moderate’. Meant to recall the artist’s experiences squatting in Dublin, the gallery has thus been ‘renovated’ to look like a decrepit Dublin squat complete with graffitied walls and torn up wallpaper.

‘Our Demands Are Moderate’ just not the the Arts Council Budget

While the gallery fundraises through paid membership, renting out workspaces, and merchandising, its primary source of income is the public purse, with lavish grants by way of the Arts Council of Ireland.

Through inquiries to the Arts Council, The Burkean can reveal that in the previous 2 years the gallery has received in excess of 250,000 of state support using various subsidy schemes.

Drawing on funding from the Council’s Capacity Building Support and Workspace Schemes, as well as an annual grant of 70,000, this money is complemented by additional funds raised through donations.

With many events and functions being hosted in conjunction with the NGOs MASI and TENI, the gallery regularly entertains various activist related events such as during the Repeal referendum. Additionally, some of the events hosted by the gallery directly assist various left-wing causes, such as planning meetings for the community action group CATU or seminars hosted by the notoriously caustic MERJ activist group.


Outside of state support, the workspace sustains itself through renting out work space to artists, as well as through various partnerships through a variety of NGOs. Glancing at some of the prior activities around fundraising and activism for the Repeal referendum, it is clear that despite state support the gallyer has acted for direct political purposes.

Among the activists tied to A4 Sounds is the LGBT militant Evgeny Shtorn, who gives talks on his activism there whenever he isn’t trying to foment a colour revolution in his native Russia or lecture to the Irish public on Direct Provision.

Some of the previous exhibitions held at the gallery

As a cultural artefact, A4 Sounds embodies the present state of colonisation that has captured contemporary Dublin in body and soul. A tacky Americanised artistic flotsam, indirectly bankrolling a fleet of activists, the fact that you and I are forced to pay for its presence is akin to that of a small cultural noose around the neck of the artistic life of our city.

Reactionary minded visitors to A4 Sounds may afterwards avail of a short stroll to the Hugh Lane gallery or gawk in reverence at the work of Dáithí Hanly at the Garden of Remembrance, though be warned you may want to avoid some of the more Somalified streets in the increasingly multicultural petri dish that is inner city Dublin.

If artistic merits can serve as a barometer reading on a political outlook, one can almost sense the bareness incumbent upon left wing art ventures like A4 Sounds. In short, both the Irish taxpayer and casual observer are being purloined of their time and money subsidising collectives like A4 Sounds. Instead of uplifting society, those tasked with providing artistic sustenance in this country merely twist the cultural life into the back of our city and get paid very handsomely to do so.

Images Used for Reporting Purposes