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Born in Dublin in 1938, and now living and working near Galway city, John Behan is firmly established as a sculptor of international stature, credited with playing a major part in the development of sculpture in Ireland over the last forty years. After an apprenticeship in metal work and welding, the foundations for Behan's success were laid in the sixties, when he trained in London and Oslo and began to exhibit widely. But he also had a wider artistic vision, which saw him challenge the elitism of the art establishment and seek to popularise art. He was a founder member of the New Artists' group in 1962 and Dublin's innovative Project Art Centre in Dublin in 1967. He has been awarded many honours and became a Member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1990, having been an Associate of the Academy since 1973. He is also a member of Aosdána.

The poet and Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney has said of the artist, "There is something psychologically salubrious about John Behan. It is as if you are encountering what the Upanishads call the ancient self, something previous to an underlying individual character, some kind of psychic bedrock. These sculptures please us by their materiality, by their substantial physical presence, their bronze in-placeness, their this-worldness….for they are not in the least otherworldly. They are produced by somebody who knows the behaviour of bronze as it was known in the workshops of Rodin and Michelangelo. And yet in spite of the down-to-earthiness and this-worldness of these images John has made, there is also present in them and behind them a sense that they are vessels of spirit, symbols of human knowledge, images, as Yeats said 'that yet/Fresh images beget'."

John Behan

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