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.

Some of the offerings currently on display at the gallery

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.

The gallery is a regular launchpad for a variety of left wing NGOs

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.

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.

Posted by Ciaran Brennan

3 Comments

  1. Entartete kunst.

    Reply

  2. The Real Fianna 17/07/2021 at 10:56 pm

    It is said, that what art you like, is an insight into your mind. There does not seem to be much going on in these so-called artists minds.

    Clearly these so-called artists judging from those pictures, have no deep substance in their thinking, or appealing intellectualism inherent in their minds, hence the abysmal display of what they are suggesting is art.

    I see no talent there whatsoever. I do not see how their funding from government should be justified.

    If you want real art, just look at the ancient stone carvings into rock in Ireland, the ancient artifacts, the early celtic style manuscripts. They were a people with talent.

    Reply

  3. Ivaus@thetricolour 19/07/2021 at 4:55 pm

    Art for arts sake,not even an Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame.If you asked them to create a sandwich it would more than likely be what they call a prairie sandwich ” nothing but wide open spaces “. For a government that has burdened its people for generations,and generations to come including €250 BILLION DEBT, QUADRUPLED ITS OVERSEAS AID BUDGET and cannot for the life of it run a country with accountability, ask who gives away so freely the hard earned money of taxpayers but allows homelessness and poverty to paint its picture.

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