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Art by miscarriage of justice victim Patrick Maguire on display at Cave

Wrongly accused of IRA bomb-making, Patrick is now an established artist

03 November, 2017 — By Tom Foot

His art speaks with an ‘universal vocabulary of dark and light, nothingness and colour’

Patrick Maguire was just a 14-year- old when was sent to an adult prison for a crime he did not commit.

The youngest of the group that would later become known as the Maguire Seven, wrongly accused of working with explosives used in IRA pub bombings in Guildford, he would spend almost five years in jail.

The family was vindicated in 1991 – after some members of the family had served up to 16 years – and a public apology was made in 2005 by former prime minister Tony Blair.

Drawing on his own experience, Mr Maguire, who lives in Maida Vale, has become a self-taught artist, working in charcoal, pastels and pencil.

In an earlier interview with the Extra about his life, he said: “Picasso said: ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.’ Well the adults got hold of me too early mate. I think that’s what my artwork is about – it’s me going back to a childhood.”

Later this month his later works will be on display in a new exhibition at the Cavespace Gallery, Pimlico, called Out from the Darkness.

The gallery describes Mr Maguire’s works using creativity as “a crucial access to his past, and blueprint for a future”, adding: “During his imprisonment, Patrick illuminated the letters to his parents with intricate drawings and cartoons. He rediscovered visual art in the early 2000s when he decided to face up to his childhood trauma through creating hundreds of charcoal compositions.”

“His art is tied to life both in apprehending the past and illuminating the future. While his subject matter relates to a uniquely troubling childhood, his colouring and  dense grid abstractions connect with a universal vocabulary of dark and light, nothingness and colour.

“Much of Patrick’s work is still about imprisonment: the stark outline of an architectural prison footprint; black bars slashing across a face. A recurring image is a red box surrounded by black, which represents the unceasing red light the guards kept turned on all night when Patrick was held in solitary confinement. Red also represents hope – it is strength, it resists the dark.”

In 2009, Mr Maguire published a novel, My Father’s Watch, about his experience from conviction to exoneration, and exhibited his first artworks in Kilburn.

Cavespace in Tachbrook Street was set up as an artistic space for the community in Pimlico and the exhibition will be on display from November 13 to 18.

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