The Citizen
1981-1983. Oil on canvas


"This work was inspired by a 1980 television documentary on the ‘dirty protest’ by republican prisoners at the Maze prison in Northern Ireland.
Demanding recognition as political prisoners, inmates refused to wash or wear regulation clothing and smeared their cells with excrement.
The protest lasted for five years, involving more than 400 prisoners.
It later developed into a mass hunger strike.
The painting is a composite image based on stills from different parts of the documentary.
For Hamilton this was ‘a strange image of human dignity in the midst of self-created squalor’."

[Tate Collection, London]