Hughie O’Donoghue, although born in Manchester, as was his father, is considered to be an Irish artist, not least by himself. Born of an Irish mother and of Irish descent on his father’s side, he spent much of his childhood in Co. Mayo. O’Donoghue studied at Goldsmiths College and upon graduation became artist-in-residence, first at Drax power station in Yorkshire and then, in London’s National Gallery.
O’Donoghue’s work is concerned with history, and he has presented this concern variously throughout his career. His early, monumental series’ Sleeper and Red Earth interpret the history of the ground itself, exploring what the soil may hold and why: examining the bodies placed in it or that may have fallen or otherwise come to be there. His father’s experiences throughout the Second World War became a starting point for a prodigious consideration of that period through the medium of richly surfaced paint. History as memory is another facet of this muse. He is widely considered to be one of Ireland’s most important living artists.