Born in Dublin in 1943, Robert Ballagh studied architecture and worked as an engineering draughtsman, a musician and a postman before taking up painting in 1967. He represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale in 1969. Major survey exhibitions of his work have taken place in Lund, Warsaw, Sofia and Moscow. In 2006 the RHA Gallery stage a career retrospective in Dublin.
As a graphic designer he has produced over seventy stamps for An Post and designed the Irish banknotes before the introduction of the Euro. His notable work in the theatre includes Samuel Beckett’s ‘Endgame’, Gate Theatre (1991); Steven Berkoff’s production of Oscar Wilde’s ‘Salome’, Gate Theatre, Dublin (1998), the staging for the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics in Croke Park, Dublin (2003) and Riverdance.
For 10 years, Ballagh chaired the Irish National Congress, a non-party organisation working for peace in Northern Ireland. He served as the first chairman of the Artists’ Association of Ireland when it was founded in 1981, and he is a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. Robert Ballagh is the founding chairman of the Irish Visual Artists Rights Organisation.