John was one of the artists kind enough to take part in the Bridges & Crossroads project I set up many years ago, involving visual artists responding to poems from the Irish canon.

“In the mid-1990s John’s was diagnosed with retinal myopathy; the gradual deterioration of his sight was a great source of anxiety and distress to him, but may have had an influence on his painting style. In April 2003 he suffered a severe heart attack, which left him with congestive heart failure. Despite his determination and philosophical attitude to his illness, he never regained sufficient strength to return to work in his top floor studio in Henrietta Street. In December 2003 he was told that medical intervention had failed and he had only a few days left to live.”

As well as paintings from his studio …

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the 2009 show, at the Royal Hibernian Academy Ashford Gallery, featured his self-portrait series called “Drawings From the Heart Ward” created in the early hours of the mornings as John faced his imminent death …

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http://johnkellyrha.com/about-john/

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