Never Forget

I am the first artist-in-residence at the Doucet-Hennessy house in Bathurst, New Brunswick. My new exhibit opens to the public on Wednesday, July 3

By the way, I strongly identify as Irish. Yes, technically I am Canadian and one might suppose that today I would be celebrating Canada Day. However, for reasons I’ll not go into at present, I prefer to celebrate the Heritage passed down to by my ancestors, the Hennessys and O’Tooles among others.

The Don’t Forget You’re Irish art exhibit opens to the public July 3. Drop by Tuesday to Saturday for a cup of tea and a chat at the historic Doucet-Hennessy House in Bathurst, New Brunswick. If you play Celtic or Acadian music or any sort of traditional folk music, we hope to have informal music sessions on Saturdays from 2-4. Bring along your acoustic instrument and join us. Music workshops are in the planning for September.

This exhibit is open to the public from July 3 – 28 in Bathurst, New Brunswick. More about the exhibit in this press release:”>Irish Canadian family settled on Bay of Chaleur in Canada.


Same Old What?

No … No luck yet …

Same old …
What exactly do you mean,George?
Same old what?
Oh, I see. Same old story. Women in North America need not apply huh?

Well … I get it …

The same old story … The one about our streets being paved with gold … This being the land of opportunity … All that sort of foolishness …
Only in the movies, George.

The movies are mostly illusions to keep us too terrified to complain or insanely laughing under difficult situations …
Only in America … Did you not know, George? Canada is considered part of America too. Remember all that swamp land that used to be in Florida? Guess who they sold it to?

Now … As Americans … we are the ones who are expected to not complain when the …n

Oh forget it, George.

About this empowerment thing … How is a woman … Or man … supposed to feel empowered when they are excluded every time the treat bags are handed out?

Answer that one for me, will you, George?

By the way … Who decides which countries get the treat bags?

Imaginary line? What imaginary line?

You know the old saying, George … Borders will be borders … Errrrrrrr …. Hmmm would that be boarders will be boarders … Boys … boys?

Click to access FHSkonier.pdf

What’s that you said, George?
“mysterious, inconsistently applied methodology, a raft of unverified assumptions and multiple, critical errors of fact and logic. Even the basic unit of meas … ” oh … I see … Something you read …
In reference to Statistics Canada?

Oh, I see

Oh yes … St Patrick’s Day …


Well in the tradition of a long line of venerable Irish Fore-mothers …
Women who taught their childten and grand-children … Who believed in justice and fairness and …

What soapbox, George … Ok then forget about St Patrick’s day … No I don’t like green beer …

I was going to tell you that the Irish great-grand-nannies would be so proud to know that the Irishmen and Irishwomen of the world would stand up today and speak out about … Well there is plenty to speak out about …

Lack of Jobs, George … Good jobs
JOBS JOBS JOBS … Not just in America, George … All across the world … People need jobs …
Well OK … Some of us think that providing people with basic income is an answer to poverty … Some say no … Get off yer arse … Find a job …

No jobs at home … Well then travel they say

Islamabad, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Mithi, Kohlu, Balakot, Karachi, Lahore,

International Development … Blood Bricks!

What do you know about Blood Bricks, George?
A poem … You think it sounds like a poem …

What about looking into how money Is tied to bricks and Brick-making and indentured labour in places like Nepal.

But there are laws against child labour!

What about child labour legislation?

According to Afke de Groot in a report for the Institute for Research on Working Children (IREWOC) July 2010

(IREWOC, the Amsterdam-based Foundation for International Research on Working Children)

“One of the current problems with child labour legislation is that there is a lack of awareness about existing laws and rights. Especially in the villages, there is no awareness about Child Rights or any government legislation on child labour. People are aware that child labour is undesirable, but they are unaware that it is illegal. There is an urgent need for child rights awareness among communities in the village [See also: Pathak 1998; Acharya et al. 2000], because the village is from where most working children are pushed and pulled towards a work setting. The explanations for children working are found here, and not at the workplace. It is thus important that, in addition to supporting families by increasing economic opportunities, people have access to honest information about the realities of working children, so people in remote rural areas will be able to make better choices. NGOs and CBOs (community based organisations) can play an important role in developing this public awareness. An information campaign on the harsh realities in the city might help to convince children and parents not to give in to high expectations and hopes about life and work in the city.”


Trade unions should be active on a practical and policy level. We can pressure the government and advise them in how to change policies. But the problem remains that the government only makes policies. Ministries then do not allocate the resources needed to implement these policies. The policies of the government, for example the Child Labour Act, are in fact very nice. But they don’t reflect reality, because of the lack of resources implementing institutes have. People in the government office dealing with child labour cannot do anything, because of the lack of resources!
There is a general feeling that the government should take on more responsibility, and take over many undertakings currently run by NGOs and other agents. According to an official at ILO Nepal, the right approach to child labour would be to rescue children from working in the worst forms, and to put them into government-run rehabilitation centres. “Nowadays you see a mushrooming of rehabilitation centres run by NGOs, but not all are benevolent”, he argued.


Today is June 20th … Everyday is special

Today is June 20th … Everyday is special …

today is World Refugee Day

What is a refugee? Why would anyone choose to be a refugee? Are we willing to help refugees? Why? What about people who choose not to be refugees? What about those who wish to remain in their own country? What about those people who wish to live in peace, raise their families, make a decent honest living? Is there a special day for them too?


On days when I feel that this world doesn’t offer me much comfort I always have my virtual home at

As in most homes, nobody there is perfect, not even Bono … But refugees are always welcome.
Today as I paint my daily cup I will ponder what it is to be a refugee and not have a place to call home.

Since some of my own ancestors were Irish refugees from Ireland I think today’s cup might be orange and white and green.

Today is June 27th.
If I hold the Irish flag up to you what you will see, from your point of view, reading left to right, the way we usually read a flag, is green, white and orange. From my position behind the flag, I might see it as orange, white, green, the flag of the Ivory Coast, unless I read it from right to left. Most confusing but somewhat interesting, this was brought to my attention by a very smart young man.

Double Standard

Well George … Ever think about the expression “double standard”?
I have … Just thinking about Sinead O’Connor for example reminds me … 

What do you mean you don’t get it?

George … There you go again … Sweetheart that you are … There are times when your thickness is … Well almost sluggish.

Look at it this way George … Juxtapose Sinead O’Connor, the famous  Irish female singer with a famous Irish male Irish singer … Let’s Say Bono for example … Do you get it George?  The more outrageous Bono has been … Well for an Irish person …

 The Irish are known for … Well we must admit … Not being the most outrageous in the world … Might have to do with being raised to distance themselves with “the troubles” … 

I am not knocking Bono and U2 … They have apparently donated millions of dollars to support young musicians in Ireland.  I’m just wondering about the struggle of women artists … Wondering whether they get the same support as men.

Many prominent figures justify the avoidance of political activity into injustice in their own country by supporting little black babies thousands of miles away … Well yes George some people might rightly consider my remarks … Well … Torn patches of controversy … But you know what George … Truth often is controversial.

Anyway here we go again George … Getting sidetracked when all I wanted to do was simply point out what I see as double standard … As long as Sinead O’Connor was meek and demure and young and fresh and lovely … Well wasn’t she the little darlin’ of the world?

That’s the way it is George … The way it always is … Men are permitted to show character lines … To make demands … To hold the world to task. Women are expected to be good little girls … Serve their masters … button their lips and go gracefully and without complaint into that darkest night.

That’s the way it is George … the double standard…