SOUTH Belfast-based artist Anna McKeever is hosting her third solo exhibition – this one focusing on the themes of light, comfort and Irish mythology.

Speaking to Belfast Media, Anna told how her family history and learning the Irish language has influenced her most recent work.

“The exhibition is called Sólás," she said. "It’s the Irish word for light, brightness and enlightenment and the theme running through all of the paintings is the light aspect. I’ve always been really interested in Irish mythology and Celtic mythology and that’s been a massive influence throughout all the work. I wanted to include all those themes together with a much more modern contemporary colour palette.

“I didn’t want to recreate ancient Irish art, I wanted it to be modern art but with a Celtic influence. I’m learning Irish at the moment so the term sólás really appealed to me because it also has another meaning which can mean comfort and reassurance."

LIGHT: Anna's work evokes Ireland's mythological past focusing on the reverence for light in Irish mythology

LIGHT: Anna's work evokes Ireland's mythological past focusing on the reverence for light in Irish mythology

Anna began her working life as a doctor after attending medical school and doing her placement in the West of Scotland.

“I was a doctor before I became an artist, I did Art in A-Level but I also painted when I went to medical school in Scotland and I remember thinking I should have gone to art college! I took up an art class in medical school and I mostly painted to relax. 

“I was working full-time as a doctor in Psychiatry and I moved to Australia and New Zealand and out there I sold a few bits and pieces to local galleries. I came back home to Ireland in 2016 and started doing public health medicine but then Covid happened.

“I started an Instagram page for my art during Covid because I was living on my own at the time. It was the first time I’d ever really shared my work beyond my friends or family and it really took off and I started getting messages from people across the world asking to buy my work.

“I went part-time doing medicine and art for two years but I’ve now been doing art full-time for two years."

Anna said being back home in Ireland has allowed her to explore Irish history and mythology and also to reconnect with the land and its ancient past.

“I’ve loved being back home and being able to absorb our culture and appreciating just how old this land is. I’ve been tracing my family since I’ve been back home and my mum’s family go back at least seven generations on the Ards Peninsula and my dad’s family are from Armagh but I’m the first one to come from Belfast!

"However, I’ve picked up a lot of influences from my grandparents’ more rural background and the folklore stories they used to tell me growing up.

“The west of Ireland and Belfast were big influences and I enjoy going to each place I paint and getting a feel for the place. I like to create a feel for a place and to get its energy."

Anna's painting style is unique and she explained she developed it without the use of a brush and instead focuses on using a palette knife to give the paint the deep texture which is evident throughout all of her work. 

“I work with oil paint so each painting can take several weeks to finish so I’m often working on several pieces at once. I like to let the pain set and dry before I move on to another part of the painting and that gives me time to think over any pieces if I’m ever feeling stuck on one particular piece.

“When I paint I don’t use a brush, I use a palette knife so it’s an unusual painting technique. In school I would use the wooden end of the paintbrush to apply the paint really thick and the teacher advised me to use a palette knife and I’ve used one ever since, you can get almost sculptural with the paint because you can etch into the paint."

Anna's exhibition is based at her gallery on the Ormeau Road, across the road from the Errigle Bar. The exhibition is continuing until December 22. 

To find out more about Anna's work visit