A major new exhibition featuring a broad representation of artists’ responses to the Troubles has opened at the Ulster Museum.
Art of the Troubles comprises 60 works, including paintings, drawings, photographs, videos and sculpture. The exhibition explores a broad range of themes including violence and destruction, suffering and loss, traditions and life in the midst of turmoil.
National Museums Northern Ireland’s Head of Art, Kim Mawhinney, said “The exhibition brings together the work of 50 artists from Northern Ireland and beyond including Joe McWilliams, Willie Doherty, FE McWilliam, Rita Duffy, Paul Seawright, Jack Pakenham, Micheal Farrell and Richard Hamilton. It brings to wider public attention the responses and reflections of individual artists themselves from their own perspectives. Although many of the individual pieces have been displayed previously in various settings, this is the first time work about the Troubles has been brought together on such a scale.”
The exhibition has been developed in partnership with Wolverhampton Art Gallery and includes many works from the collections of National Museums Northern Ireland and the recently gifted Arts Council of Northern Ireland Collection. Also incorporated are loans from the Imperial War Museum’s Northern Ireland Collection, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane, as well as works from private collections and artists themselves.
Dr Jim McGreevy, Director of Collections & Interpretation for National Museums Northern Ireland said, “Art of the Troubles is not designed to be either a historical or comprehensive account of all that happened during the Troubles. However, we believe that its content reflects a broad range of themes. We are conscious of the unresolved legacy of the Troubles and continuing sensitivities in our community. This exhibition offers avenues for exploring the ways in which the Troubles have been viewed by a range of artists and for reflecting upon the manifestations and impact of violence and division in our community. We are grateful to the partners who have assisted with this project and particularly to Wolverhampton Art Gallery who have loaned a substantial number of artworks from their Northern Ireland collection.”
Marguerite Nugent, from the Wolverhampton Art Gallery said, “This collaboration has enabled the major collections of art related to the Troubles to come together for the first time. When Art of the Troubles finishes at the Ulster Museum in the autumn, we will be hosting the exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.”
Art of the Troubles will be supported by a public programme which will allow various themes reflected in the exhibition to be explored. Activity will include lectures, tours, workshops, film screenings and a conference in association with the Institute of British and Irish Studies from University College Dublin.
A range of online resources will be created both to supplement the exhibition. These will include filmed interviews with a number of the artists, a digital record of the exhibition and images of other works by the artists represented in the exhibition. An online publication relating to the conference will also be produced.