Irish Contemporaries 3 -web-Main

The Irish Contemporaries {iii}

The Irish Contemporaries {iii} - A Photographic, Visual Art & Film Exhibition 

Featured Artist: Bobby Zithelo

Spotlight Artists:  Riley Waite | Sionnan Wood | Brenda Welsh | Jerry McGrath

Curated by Matthew Nevin & Ciara Scanlan of MART Gallery

Held at Building Bridges Art Exchange at Bergamot Station

Exhibition Opened on Saturday, July 6th

Runs 6th July - 10th August 2024 [Opening Hours: Tues - Fri: 11:30 AM – 5 PM  | Sat: 12 PM – 6 PM ]

A FREE Family Craft Day will be held on July 13th – RSVP at CIACLA Family Day

The third annual Irish Contemporaries exhibition will return this summer at Building Bridges Art Exchange, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, Los Angeles. 

CIACLA - The Contemporary Irish Center Los Angeles, in partnership with Building Bridges Art Exchange and The MART Gallery & Studios Dublin, proudly present this exhibition featuring photography, film and visual art group exhibition with Featured Artist: Bobby Zithelo and Spotlight Artists: Riley Waite | Sionnan Wood | Brenda Welsh | Jerry McGrath

We are also delighted to screen the three part short documentary series Our Land as part of the exhibition. “Irishness has many strands and is influenced by fresh views, outlooks and cultures. Our Land takes a deep dive into what it means to identify as ‘Irish’ today and how immigration shapes our understanding of identity and home. With contributions from JYellowL, Amanda Ade, Dagogo Hart, Holly Pereira, Hughie Maughan.”  Directed by Bobby Zithelo, for The Tenth Man and RTE Player.

The exhibition will also feature prints by Tom Dowling and artcards by a curated selection of Irish visual artists including Aisling Phelan, Anthony D Kelly, Austin Ivers, Brady Izquierdo Rodríguez, Erica Duryea, Gerry Wardell, Jack Knowles, Katarzyna Gajewska, Lois Keller, Marina Karysheva, Paul James Kearney, Scarr O Scóir, Sinéad Clancy, Zithelo Mthombeni.

The Irish Contemporaries {iii} is a captivating exhibition celebrating the diverse talents of contemporary artists from Los Angeles County and a curated selection of Irish artists by Ciara Scanlan and Matthew Nevin.

The core of this group exhibition will feature a curated selection of works by Bobby Zithelo, one of the most exciting contemporary artists based in Dublin, Ireland, excels in blending his own artistic and commercial work with visual storytelling. Zithelo’s work on display showcases a selection of Irish Musicians, Poets and Artists, including Amanda Ade, Choy-Ping Ní Chléirigh, Dagogo Hart, Felispeaks, Holly Pereire, Jafaris, JyellowL, Leo Miyagee, Lisa Hannigan, Loah, Mubby, Nealo, Paddy Tunga and Roisin El Cherif.

Bobby Zithelo is known for his active role in photographing the current Irish Music Scene and documentaries provide poignant insights into contemporary Irish life, focusing on themes of race, identity, and the challenges faced by young people. Zithelo's work offers a unique perspective that reflects his dedication to exploring cultural identity and social issues through his practice. 

On a broader note, the Irish visual art scene has become a vibrant tapestry of innovation and tradition, where contemporary artists seamlessly blend historical influences with modern techniques. Known for its rich cultural heritage, Ireland continues to produce a dynamic array of visual artists who captivate global audiences with their unique perspectives and creative expressions. The Irish visual art community thrives on collaboration, with artists frequently engaging in cross-disciplinary projects and international exhibitions, making it an exciting and ever-evolving landscape for both creators and art enthusiasts alike.

“This exciting group exhibition showcases a mix of photography, visual art, and film, offering a unique assemblage that casts a spotlight on the captivating blend of techniques, narratives, and perspectives characterising the contemporary art scene in Ireland and Los Angeles,” says co-curator Matthew Nevin.

Building Bridges Art Exchange, Unit F2, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, LA, CA 90404 - Google Maps

For more information, visit

Kindly Supported By: This exhibition was made possible with support from the Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme,Third District Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Culture Ireland, LA County Department of Arts and Culture, CIACLA, MART Gallery & Studios, African American Irish Diaspora Network and Building Bridges Art Exchange.

About the Featured & Spotlight Artists:

Bobby Zithelo is a Dublin-based filmmaker known for incorporating visual storytelling into commercial direction. The portfolio includes Adidas, Life Style Sports, Jameson, Brown Thomas RTE, Redbull and more. Zithelo’ strong connection between creativity and visual imagery is evident in his various projects. In addition to his commercial work, Bobby Zithelo is a versatile visual artist, photographer and filmmaker. His latest documentary offers a poignant insight into contemporary Irish life, particularly the challenges facing young people. Zithelo’s directing credits include: ‘OUR LAND’ docu-series (2022) The award winning film ‘This Land’ A film about Ireland's relationship with race, identity and immigration. Director & Producer of 'Up Next' An Irish Hip-Hop documentary. 

Sionnan is an internationally exhibited artist, creative consultant, and curator. Born in British Columbia and raised in the Bay Area, in 2010, she relocated to Los Angeles drawn by one of the largest visual economies. Her current practice focuses on painterly intuition informed by a rigorous representational skillset. She balances formal methods with her spontaneous, abstract process. Her body of work encompasses portraiture and still life supported by the conceptual and technical skills she honed at ArtCenter College of Design. Her representational concerns draw from an understanding of neuroaesthetics, and she takes inspiration from artists as dissimilar as Eleanor Antin, Mark Bradford, Alice Neel, Édouard Manet, James Thurber, and David Shrigley. 

Brenda Welsh is a multidisciplinary artist currently based in Los Angeles. She studied at the Corita Art Center and Mount St. Mary's University in Los Angeles. She received her bachelor's in science and Juris Doctor degrees from Glendale University College of Law, California. Her successful and demanding business career was the focus of her endeavors for many years. In 2002 she pursued making her art full time and since then her work has been in over 90 exhibits, including Irish Contemporaries II. She is a member of the Los Angeles Art Association, Women Painters West, Collage Artists of America and several other prestigious art organizations. Her paintings are included in private collections throughout the United States and in Europe Welsh is an abstract expressionist painter and a true colorist. She is influenced by her extensive worldwide travels, the visual aspects of nature, her personal challenges and everything life gives and takes from us.”  Using bright and bold colors she forms shapes and places them deliberately or allows the paint to dictate where it wants to flow drip or puddle. No matter how the shapes occur, her objective is to create movement, depth and unity over the painting surface.  By the time the work is complete it will have multiple layers of paint, various textures and/ or collage elements and, it will have gone through numerous directions and stages. Her preferred mediums are acrylic paint, watercolor, collage, India ink and assemblage.

Riley Waite “As an Irish diasporan figurative painter, my work is a reflection of my unique upbringing in both Ireland and the USA. My paintings are an exploration of the cultural clashes and conflicts that have shaped my identity and are informed by my view of what 'home' is: whether it be in a specific place, person or memory. I normally depict scenes that have never occurred in real life, but rather are loose representations from my memory which form an ambiguous moment in time that is personal to me. I’m currently intrigued by the menacing nature of Irish youth culture as a sociological phenomenon and aim to explore these issues through narrative and formal investigations.”

Jerry McGrath is an artist with a profound emotional connection to the landscape, particularly the Irish terrain. His series. 'Between Now and Then' and 'Chop Wood, Carry Water,' not only showcase this relationship but also weave in elements of mystery and contemplation. McGrath's art invites viewers to practice mindfulness and immerse themselves in the narrative of his visual art. His unique approach, which melds creative photography and design with storytelling, is complemented by his experience as a Producer and Art Director in the film industry since 2017. McGrath is currently finalizing two screenplays, further enriching his creative portfolio. 'My goal,' McGrath says, 'is to share my wonder, to draw you into a contemplative space, and to explore the stories that bind us—from the mundane to the magnificent.'"

Check out the previous exhibitions: Contemporaries 1 & Contemporaries 2. 

Directed by Bobby Zithelo, for The Tenth Man and RTE Player.  Image by Rois Jordan
Directed by Bobby Zithelo, for The Tenth Man and RTE Player. Image by Rois Jordan