Featured Artist: Curry O’Shea

Curry O'Shea 1958 - 2012, RIP dscf1936Born in 1958 in Cork, Ireland, Curry O'Shea (Cornelius) has been a resident of St Mungo's Projects for many years. Forever a popular man, he was much loved for his unique and charming character. His passion for art and music were also reflected in his extraordinary personality. He was an active contributor to Homeless Diamonds, an arts magazine published by people living or working in St Mungo’s hostels.

A tribute from Homeless Diamonds

Curry O’Shea’s painting of a woman (The Virgin Mary) was on the cover of Homeless Diamonds issue 8 in early 2009 and he continued to make important contributions to the magazine from that time. His works were ambitious large scale, finely detailed paintings and drawings, often taken from well-known masters, but also included a series of fairies from the popular children’s books. Curry wrote thoughtfully about the nature of art and what it meant to him (HD issue 10, 2009). Later he published the lyrics to his song Ethiopian Blues – he was an accomplished singer-songwriter, playing his own guitar accompaniment with the same accomplished verve he brought to his paintings. He recorded music and two of his songs are in the Homeless Diamonds disk published last December. While Curry’s art practice - painting, drawing, singing or playing music - was always on a grand scale, he was a modest, quiet person who communicated softly with few words – a gentle presence which we will miss very much. Jen Burnham

A reflection from Cafe Art

Curry O'Shea epitomises the ethos behind Cafe Art. And that is to have a belief in people like Curry, recognise their talent, and to share and celebrate it with as many people as possible. Cafe Art did just that when we took Curry to celebrate his iconic 'Sunflower' painting at a Cafe where it was exhibited. It was one of his happier days for him to know that there were people, some total strangers to him, who shared his journey in life too. Tragically, Curry passed away suddenly in a little over 2 weeks after that day. At least, he knew his talents were being recognised, appreciated, enjoyed and celebrated. That's what counts for Cafe Art and all its 'silent' artists. The entire essence of this initiative is captured in just that one big smile from Curry in the above photo taken that day. Read about more artists:

18 Comments

  1. A lovely kind and genuine Man with a big heart ! Missed but will never be forgotten. x x x

  2. I only had the pleasure of meeting you once Curry and hoped we would meet again. I remember your kind twinkling eyes and you doodling away throughout the Homeless Diamonds Meeting at Adamson Road. Very Fondly remembered and spoken of by all at Adamson Road. Bless and Rest Your Soul.

  3. Thanks for your initiative in starting this commemoration of Curry Michael and Eliana, and to others who have movingly contributed through email. It’s a great picture above and I am glad we have samples of Curry’s art and his recordings to cherish. As they would say in Cork, he gave it a good lash.

  4. I had the pleasure of working with Curry over a period of 3 years at Endell Street Studio. If you’ve listened to some of his music (above) you get an idea of just how talented, genuine and original Curry was as a songwriter and Recording artist. He was also extremely generous and kind when working with others. He will be deeply missed.

  5. I met Curry at Adamson Road, whilst working there as Activities Worker for 7 years.
    Initially Curry wouldn’t take part in any activities; he was a reserved man who liked his privacy, especially when doing his art work.
    With time Curry started to build up trust and he finally got persuaded to start contributing with his paintings to the HD.
    The warmth and appreciation that he got from the members of the HD created a strong link between the two which continued to exist even when Curry moved out from Adamson Road.
    He then started attending lots of other events, including the ‘10th Anniversary of the HD’ and the art workshops run by the Wallace Collection at Adamson Road, where he produced his famous painting the ‘Laughing Chavelier’…
    Alongside his gift as an artist, Curry had a great talent as songwriter and musician. I was a big fan of Curry’s music. I loved his lyrics and his ability to touch people’s heart.
    I was delighted to hear that St.Mungos finally opened a recording studio at Endell Street; I remember the first time Curry walked into the recording studio…
    he had the biggest smile on his face.. his dream has came true.
    To me, Curry wasn’t just a talented man; he was a sensitive, gentle and exceptionally likeable person, who had a contagious laugh and a noble heart.
    Curry will be greatly missed by the people who had the privilege to meet him, but his art work and music will keep Curry alive forever’.

  6. A unique and rare talent, and a lovely man as well. Curry, you’ll be sorely missed.

  7. I knew Curry for many years,from when he lived at Barnsbury Road. I enjoyed meeting him as we often communicated in Gaelic which he liked as he had come form near a Gaelic speaking part of Cork. He was a thoughtful,gentle person with amazing talents. He was a little too fond of the drop and smoke which unfortunately took its toll. He gave a lot of enjoyment to many and will be missed.Ar Deis De go raibh a anam dilis.

  8. I certainly didn’t know Curry well but our paths did cross several times over the years, in various projects he stayed and at a World Mental Health Day he exhibited at some years back. I was always impressed by his unassuming and gentle manner, obvious talent and infectious laugh. Great to hear the music as well, a first for me.

  9. I worked with Curry as Locum Project worker when he lived @ Adamson Road St Mungo’s. I remembered vividly his renditions of Bob Marley’s music and Michael Jackson’s most of the evenings when he comes to the office and he spoke volumes of his Ethiopian blues. He was genius with his voice and his art works were awesome. surely he will be sorely miss by all who knew him and worked with on his road to recovery. Internal rest grant unto him O Lord and let Perpertual Light shine upon. May his soul rest in Perfect Peace Amen.

  10. Curry was the eternal optimist. His ability to see the best in others was profound and spoke volumes of his kind and loving soul. We will remember him with fondness always.

  11. Curry was delighted with his new abode when Adamson Rd reopened after refurb and twas a joy to have exquisite gentleness around ye with all his angel paintings-how the comfort might have been so necessary gripped me one day when I answered the phone to a Dublin solicitor who conveyed a tale of injustice Curry felt and that he was working on. He asked i take him to see a solicitor at Harrow Wield- a Patrick Cusack who would explain the upshot of his work in Dublin.
    Well sez I to him and sez to me and 2 corkonians went to Harrow and Weald.
    Patrick Cusack relayed the upshot with the utmost sensitivity and after abot 40mins when finished Curry took out a bundle of notes he had saved to pay him-Patrick refused to take a penny stating ‘to you my service is free’
    We sat for quite awhile on a bench in the sun and i felt from Curry an enormous level of acceptance and release.
    Ta mo chroi almost briste at any injustice.
    may he rest in peace in the beautiful softness of the west cork landscape
    How Oft in my thoughts are the Banks of our own lovely lee

  12. When I heard the very sad news about Curry, I was immediately reminded of my first thoughts of him. I had just been introduced to Homeless Diamonds magazine and was impressed and surprised at the talent. The great detail in one of Curry’s paintings (of some lord or king wearing a black hat) left me breathless. And then the music, and finally met the man behind it all. I was once again surprised since he was gracious enough to listen about the unfolding plans of a new Radio show at Endell St. For his precious life and quiet ways we thank his creator and also for the many gifts that accompanied that life.
    Esther.

  13. I met Curry at Adamson Road, where he attended some of my groups. He was a talented man and remember him for his singing. Rest in Peace.

  14. I have many fond memories of Curry’s time at Adamson Road and when the wind is right, can almost hear the harmonica still. He will be sadly missed and his impact on the team and residents will be felt for many years to come. He was a true poet: Rest in Peace.

  15. curry was the most generous person you could meet in your life as a friend

    • Thank you, William. I’m sure many people will agree with you on this!

  16. I knew Curry for about 3 years ….he was an absolute charming, lovely man with a true twinkle in his eye. I hadn’t seen Curry since 2010 and was very upset to hear of his passing about a year after he left us. Curry is truly unforgettable and his life touched so many people- and continues to – what a legacy Curry that you leave behind…

    • Dear Miss Risco,
      Thank you so much for your very kind words. We share your feelings too as Curry had something very special in him. If you don’t mind, we shall pass your message to Curry’s family which would be most comforting to them. Thank you again ….
      Best,

      Michael

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