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Dublin’s Little Museum thinks big in New York

Christy Brown at work with his left foot. RTE archive photo.

By Irish Echo Staff

Dublin’s Little Museum, an institution charged with telling a big story, is taking its work to a bigger stage this week as it opens a Christy Brown exhibit at the American Irish Historical Society in Manhattan.

The Little Museum has brought the “My Left Foot” author’s personal archive for its first ever public display in the United States.

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The exhibition, “Dear Christy: The Christy Brown Collection,” opens Wednesday, Nov. 11 and runs until Tuesday, Nov. 24.

[caption id="attachment_81143" align="alignleft" width="150"]

Daniel Day Lewis as Christy Brown.

Daniel Day Lewis as Christy Brown.

Daniel Day Lewis as Christy Brown.[/caption]

Christy Brown is remembered by many as the man played by Daniel Day-Lewis in the 1989 Oscar-winning movie “My Left Foot”.

But the complexities of Brown’s life, together with his struggle to be understood, have only recently come to light. Those complexities are explored in the new exhibition, said a Little Museum release.

And it adds: The collection includes many unique, previously unseen artefacts, including childhood mementos, unpublished poetry, nude sketches, a letter declaring Brown’s ambition to become an artist, his passport and a letter from the Booker Prize- winning author John Banville describing “Down All The Days” as “perhaps the best Irish novel since Ulysses.” Intimate, humorous and moving, the exhibition is a unique record of the life and work of this world-famous artist and writer.

“We are delighted to be bringing this collection to America,” said Little Museum curator Simon O’Connor.

“It tells the story of a great Irish artist and writer who created paintings, a classic memoir, four novels and four collections of poetry – using only his left foot.”

In March 2014, the Little Museum of Dublin and the National Library of Ireland jointly purchased the Christy Brown archive for €44,733 at an auction in London.

The first time the Little Museum of Dublin has presented work in the United States, this exhibition is supported by The Ireland Funds, Aer Lingus, Tourism Ireland, the Irish Aviation Authority, Direct Medical, and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

In addition to the Christy Brown exhibition, the Little Museum is also bringing am much talked about play to the AIHS.

Following its debut in the Dublin Theatre Festival, “The Private View” by Trevor White will be presented performed at the AIHS on November 17, 18 and 19.

The play tells the story of John Lowe, who accepted the surrender of Patrick Pearse at the end of the 1916 Rising.

Trevor White, according to a release, sets out to celebrate Lowe, who went on to become a famous movie star (after changing his name to John Loder) and married five times. One of his wives was Hedy Lamarr.

Directed by acclaimed novelist and director Gerard Stembridge, “The Private View,” said the release, reflects on national identity through the prism of an amazing story that’s largely forgotten.

“This play explores the abuses of memory and the true meaning of heroism. But it also questions what it means to be patriotic today,” said Trevor White.

White is the founder of The Dubliner magazine and Director of the Little Museum of Dublin. “The Private View” is his first play.

The will be performed at 7 p.m. on its three scheduled dates. The American Irish Historical Society is at 991 5th Avenue in Manhattan. The phone number is (212)288-2263. More at www.aihs.org/events.