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Artist Michael Mulcahy: ‘Nobody went near me because I lived in a hearse’

Artist talks about his 12 years of sober living, his years of drinking, being committed into mental health hospitals, the death by suicide of his brother and living in a hearse in London

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Irish artist Michael Mulcahy has packed a lot of life into his 70 years. Picture by Mark Condren

Irish artist Michael Mulcahy has packed a lot of life into his 70 years. Picture by Mark Condren

Irish artist Michael Mulcahy at his studio. Picture by Mark Condren

Irish artist Michael Mulcahy at his studio. Picture by Mark Condren

Artist Mick Mulcahy and his partner Vera photographed in Co Wexford. Picture by Mark Condren

Artist Mick Mulcahy and his partner Vera photographed in Co Wexford. Picture by Mark Condren

Michael Mulcahy is happier with his work than ever. Picture by Mark Condren

Michael Mulcahy is happier with his work than ever. Picture by Mark Condren

Michael Mulcahy has never been afraid to shock. Picture by Mark Condren

Michael Mulcahy has never been afraid to shock. Picture by Mark Condren

‘Mulcahy at 70’ exhibition runs at Taylor Galleries, Dublin. Picture by Mark Condren

‘Mulcahy at 70’ exhibition runs at Taylor Galleries, Dublin. Picture by Mark Condren

‘Mulcahy at 70’ exhibition runs at Taylor Galleries, Dublin. Picture by Mark Condren

‘Mulcahy at 70’ exhibition runs at Taylor Galleries, Dublin. Picture by Mark Condren

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Irish artist Michael Mulcahy has packed a lot of life into his 70 years. Picture by Mark Condren

Nothing scares Michael Mulcahy. Not even dinner with cannibals. In 1985, after representing Ireland at the Sydney Biennale, the artist decided he wanted to visit the indigenous tribes of Papua New Guinea. He was advised not to go because it wouldn’t be safe. That made him more determined.

He came up with an idea to make the tribespeople curious about him. He had seen the Tuareg travellers of the Sahara paint themselves blue and did the same. He rowed up the Sepik River in a small boat. Seeing some people on the bank, he climbed out.


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