News 2010

Victor Sloan is talking about his work, along with Brian Kennedy at AllArtNow in Damascus and Le Pont Gallery in Aleppo

AllArtNow, Damascus, Syria

Thursday 18 November 2010 at 7.00pm

From Stop, 2010 © Victor Sloan

Victor Sloan and Brian Kennedy will talk about their work, what has influenced them, and what it is like to be an artist in Northern Ireland.

Victor uses photography as a starting point, but he then plays with, and manipulates, the photographs in the way a painter would manipulate a canvas. The images stretch from Northern Ireland's dark and violent past to today's Northern Ireland, where the opposing views still exist, but now tour buses take tourists around to look at, and photograph the divisions.

Brian uses large scale installations, photography and performance as ways of working. Travel has always been important to him, whether travelling to different countries around the world, or travel as a journey through thoughts and ideas. He is also a curator, and will talk about the exhibition he curated called 'Art Beyond Ulster', which is currently showing at the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast.

Both artists would welcome questions from the audience on all aspects of art from Northern Ireland.

All Art Now Foundation (Boukhari Group)

Bab Musala - Ibn Asaker St.- Damascus - Syria

View Press Release for Abir Boukhari of AllArtNow and artist Nistrine Boukhari in conversation with Brian Kennedy at the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast

Le Pont Gallery, Aleppo, Syria,

Talk by Victor Sloan and Brian Kennedy

14 November 2010, 7.30pm

Le Pont Gallery
Le Pont Art Organization
King Faisal Street

PO Box: 10005

telefax: +963 21 2274018
mobile: +963 94 4412218


Victor Sloan’s work is shown in The Art of the Troubles exhibition at Mid Antrim Museum, the Braid.

The Art of the Troubles

Mid Antrim Museum

27 April - 27 July 2010

© Victor Sloan

A special collaboration with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland drawing on its collection of art inspired by, and responding to, ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. This unique resource has been curated specially for the North East Cluster Peace III Culture and Arts Programme. It provides a stimulating basis for creative engagement with issues surrounding the conflict and its legacy.
The exhibition includes pieces by internationally recognised Northern Irish artists such as Anthony Davies, Neil Shawcross, Charles Oakley, T.P. Flanagan , Joseph McWilliams, Brendan Ellis, Graham Gingles, James Allen, Rita Duffy, Marie Barrett , Fergus Delargy, Patrick Hickey, Alistair MacLennan and Victor Sloan

Mid-Antrim Museum
The Braid
1 - 29 Bridge Street
BT43 5EJ

Tel: (028) 2565 7161
Fax: (028) 2563 5941

At Flowerfield Arts Centre, 2 - 28 August 2010
Flowerfield Arts Centre, 185 Coleraine Road, Portstewart, BT55 7HU
Telephone 7083 1400, Fax: 7083 1432, E-mail:


Victor Sloan’s works are shown, along with those of Richard Hamilton and F.E. McWilliam, in Wolverhampton Art Gallery, England from May 2009.

The Northern Ireland Collection: Fresh Perspectives
Wolverhampton Art Gallery

15 November 2008 - 5 June 2010

Victor Sloan's work installed at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, England

2008 marks a decade since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. After 30 years of bloody violence, this milestone covenant gave Northern Ireland’s divided society fresh hope for a peaceful future.

This exhibition considers the role of visual artists in presenting Northern Ireland’s contested past and future. Highlights and previously unseen works from Wolverhampton’s Northern Ireland Collection are shown alongside borrowed exhibits that offer fresh perspectives on the history of the conflict and its resolution.

Recent grant aid provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Collecting Culture scheme has enabled the Gallery to expand the remit of the collection with work relating to the theme ‘Peace and Reconciliation’.

New from May 2009

Look out for a set of works by Irish sculptor F. E. McWilliam, Irish visual artist
Victor Sloan, and British artist Richard Hamilton. These artists offer fresh perspectives on the period of conflict from the 1970s through to the 1980s.


A full catalogue of works from Wolverhampton's Northern Ireland Collection is available at £7.95 (usual price £12.95).

A special education package is now available, priced £9.99.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery
Lichfield Street
West Midlands

Telephone: 01902 552055




Elective Perspective
Galeria Arsenale, Białystok, Poland

19 April until 16 May 2010

© Victor Sloan

This exhibition features works by Miriam de Búrca, Lisa Byrne, Ian Charlesworth, Victoria J. Dean, Seamus Harahan, Phil Hession, Peter Richards, Paul Seawright and Victor Sloan.

In 2009 the Golden Thread Gallery hosted an exhibition of work by Polish artists, curated by Monika Szewczyk, Director of the Galeria Arsenale. The exhibition was a chance for Northern Irish audiences to gain an insight into Polish art, the themes and subject matter that are relevant to artists practicing in Poland. This exhibition is the opportunity for Polish audiences to experience a selection of works by Northern Irish artists that all address the troubled history that they lived through.

Despite the small geographical area that Northern Ireland encompasses, it has the dubious honour of being one of the most documented and mediated places in the world. The “Troubles” saw Northern Ireland‘s profile change irrevocably in the eyes of the world’s media, but perhaps more importantly it changed the opinions, sense of place and history of its inhabitants. With virtually every day documented by the world’s press, in a world unused to ‘big brother’ style surveillance, Northern Ireland became a country whose history was no longer personal, but rather collective in the most global sense possible. The Northern Irish art world changed accordingly.

This exhibition seeks to provide an overview of the effect that constant scrutiny and mediation of place had on the artists living and working within. Offering a selection of historical and contemporary works, the exhibition suggests that it was a legacy that has affected more than one generation. The artists included vary in age by as much as forty years, yet all of their work shows a deeply personal reaction to the “Troubles”, despite extremely different experiences.

Victoria J. Dean’s photographic works document the legacy of the “Troubles” on the landscape of Northern Ireland. The series Everything Equally focuses on the dystopia of an island known for its natural beauty. Her urban landscapes zero in on a concrete geometry found in a seaside town: sharp angles of paving slabs contrasting starkly with the fluid beauty of the sea. As if the overwhelming ugliness of the concrete landscape needed further defined, graffiti defaces the architecture of the pier. Dean’s landscapes are largely devoid of people, instead capturing traces of human inter-action. The viewer becomes an intruder, spying, like a surveillance camera.

The detached nature of Dean’s work is the antithesis of the Taxi III, Stand Up and Cry Like a Man, a video work by Lisa Byrne. Byrne persuaded a number of Belfast taxi drivers to be taxied by her around the city, each telling their personal stories of being a taxi driver during the “Troubles”. The profession was notoriously dangerous throughout the period and this is documented in the confessions of men left scarred, both mentally and physically, by the violence that they saw, and at times unwittingly participated in. The video is short, just over three and a half minutes long, but every line of dialogue is essential and highlighted through the use of subtitles.

Dogs have no Religion is also a documentary-style video work focussed on taxi drivers. Miriam de Búrca’s 2005 work is shot with a hand-held camera and presents a low-tech, intimate portrait of Belfast through the eyes of a taxi driver. Her choice of subject is philosophical in his description of how religion divided the city and the absurdity of the situation is summed in his anecdote about the two different types of bread roll, hard and soft, and how one became eponymous with the Catholic religion, the other the Protestant. The taxi driver describes in great detail the virtues of both types of bread and his desire as a young boy to be allowed both, unconsciously creating a metaphor for the situation he found himself in.

Ian Charlesworth’s 2005 video work John formed part of the artist’s investigation into the role of the ‘subject’ and involved him hiring a youth from North Belfast and, through the voice of his agent, giving him fictional scenarios to act out. Part of a generation who grew up with the end and then the aftermath of the “Troubles”, without necessarily fully understanding the politics that surrounded them, John is encouraged to vocalise an anger that may or may not be his own. John is uncomfortable to watch, the schism between the middle-class educated voice of his agent and the character of John stark. One of an increasing number of young men hired by production companies for “authenticity”, the John on camera makes us question the validity of his voice and poses the question who is using whom?

Given the overt or subtle undertones of the political in the works, it is hardly surprising that many of the works in the exhibition are unnerving, difficult and even distressing to view. Peter Richards’ series Memorials is a collection of pin-hole photographs taken across Belfast of a variety of memorials, some individual, others public. While some, such as Memorial: Falls Road,commemorate a collective political statement (in this instance it is a giant H, a memorial to the H blocks of the Maze prison and for the hunger-strikers who died there), another, Memorial: Upper Springfield Road, is poignant in its simplicity, flowers around a lamp-post to remember a single death. The photographs have been printed in the negative, the deep reds, oranges and blacks subverting the view: the unnatural colours further distancing the scenes from reality and highlighting the aberrant blurring of public and private grief.

The Sectarian Murder series was made by Paul Seawright in 1988, but documents a series of deaths in the early seventies. Each image is accompanied by a piece of text taken from local press reporting on the murders, but with the religion of the victim edited out. The images are not of the victims, but rather of the place they occurred. The text is a spectre of the death that occurred there: a transitory occurrence that could be forgotten in the intervening time period between when the murders happened and the photographs were taken. The photographs become the space in between – they do not need to give a figurative illustration of the people who died there, as the text allows viewers to insert that image for themselves.

Memory, remembering and the aural tradition are all explored in Phil Hession’s work, ...night ramblin’ and sportin’.... Hession’s work looks at the role of song and storytelling in collective memory and the piece was filmed on a residency at the Curfew Tower in Cushendall, on the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland. The footage for the video was a result of Hession inviting locals to drop in and join him in singing traditional songs and telling folk stories. The work questions how we remember and in the context of Northern Ireland also the validity of a collective memory that is categorically divided. The nature of the aural tradition is that the story changes with the teller and it is debatable what role truth, or the perceived truth has. Traditional songs and stories are a way of remembering, but the piece suggests that we must not forget that they are only telling part of the story.

At a very basic level there are always two stories in Northern Ireland - one Catholic, one Protestant – and this divide is beautifully captured in Seamus Harahan’s 2007 work Before Sunrise. The work is a two channel video and was made in response to KP Brehmer’s 1969 work On a Beautiful Day, a film made at the Berlin Wall. Before Sunrise was filmed at Alexandra Park in North Belfast, a park that is literally divided in two with a peace wall segregating a Catholic section from a Protestant section. The ludicrousness of this partition of a park is captured in the pond, literally carved into two sections: the ducks on either side destined never to meet. The second video of the piece documents a statue of Edward Carson, the controversial Unionist leader who established the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and became the figure-head for many Ulster Protestants.

Victor Sloan’s 2004 video work Walk records Orange marches in Portadown, Northern Ireland. Orange marches have developed as a way of Protestants celebrating their faith, though the activity is controversial and often viewed as sectarian, due to the fact that the routes taken often pass through Catholic areas. Playing with the footage and merging images, Sloan’s work is a kaleidoscope of colour and sound, capturing simultaneously a carnival and a sinister atmosphere. Dramatic and attention-grabbing, figures have been manipulated to create multiples and create the illusion of synchronised dance troops: the playful images contrasting strongly to the contentious subject matter.

Curated by Peter Richards, the exhibition is an overview of how artists from, and/or practicing in, the North dealt with the political situation surrounding them. Elective Perspective is conscious of the fact that each artist’s perspective is subjective and that while questions are raised by the work, to an extent they cannot be answered. There is no attempt to be prescriptive. Rather, the works chosen require the viewer to be aware that they are only ever seeing one element of a situation. The works combine to tell a story, yet it is a story whose veracity is at times questionable, tempered as it is by the opinion of the teller.

Galeria Arsenał Białystok
  • Mickiewicza
    Pałac Branickich 2
  • 15-222 Białystok
  • tel: 0-85 742 03 53
  • Godziny otwarcia:
  • wtorek - piątek: 10.00 - 17.00
    sobota, niedziela: 10-17

Read in Polish


A View From Napoleon’s Nose
Kao Yuan Arts Centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

3 March until 3 April 2010

© Victor Sloan

This exhibition brings together a diverse group of artists with alternative views. Some of whom are well established having shown nationally and internationally for over 25 years, others are quickly making names for themselves and several have already representedNorthern Ireland, for example, at the Venice Biennale and the Sao Paulo Biennale. Others are young artists at the cutting edge of contemporary practice beginning to make names for themselves.

Political violence in Northern Ireland forms part of both Lisa Byrne’s and Victor Sloan’s work. Lisa uses film and photography to explore the trauma experienced by victims of sectarian violence. She also looks at the issues surrounding one’s life partner and growing old alone. For over 25 years Sloan has been returning to imagery from the ‘troubles’ in his work. He is currently working on a new body of work called 'Stop’ that is based on photographs from a tour bus trip around Belfast’s troubled past.

The specific context of Northern Ireland is also used by Ian Charlesworth who uses photography to re-work the documentary portrait. Ian looks at how Belfast’s urban youth are portrayed in both the media and social documentary. Peter Richards also uses photography but his primary concern is the process of constructing representations of existing representations. To do this he often uses the durational aspect of early photographic techniques.

Susan MacWilliam uses photography, video and instillations to explore the paranormal, the supernatural and perceptual phenomena. In Taiwan she will show a work based on Dermo Optics that is often referred to as eyeless sight or fingertip vision.

Video work and performances have formed part of Phil Hession’s work. Phil will be working with three local people in Taiwan to produce an original piece of work. Allan Hughes who explores the psychological relationships to the recorded voice also uses sound. He focuses on the role of synchronisation and the meaning between image and sound.

The interrelationship of art and politics in everyday life is Justin McKeown’s primary interest. His work for this exhibition will be based on the projected childbirths for Taiwan in 2010. Politics, power and cultural identity are issues explored by Philip Napier. Philip often uses movement and sound in his work. Clodagh Lavelle is interested in fleeting intimacy, curious moments and the unexpectedness of human behaviour. Her work in Taiwan will invite the viewers to engage with the piece and at times consequently interact with others.

The artists in this exhibition have all, in the past, demonstrated an interest to have their work seen in other cultures. The exhibition does not claim to represent some historical tradition. What is important is that the work from one part of the world travels to another and through the interaction of artist and audience new cultural understandings and respect will develop.

Extract from A View from Napoleon’s Nose by Brian Kennedy, exhibition curator.

Culture Ireland

Kao Yuan Arts Centre


Victor Sloan's works are exhibited at the London Art Fair.

The London Art Fair
13 – 17 January 2010

Band Parade, Halloween, Shopping Centre, Craigavon, silver gelatin print and toner, 26cms x 26cms, 1985 © Victor Sloan

Now entering its 22nd year, London Art Fair is the UK’s largest Modern British and contemporary art fair. Established in 1988, the Fair encompasses over one-hundred rigorously selected galleries presenting Modern British and international contemporary art.

Attracting 21,700 visitors, London Art Fair gives galleries the opportunity to renew relationships with existing clients and develop significant new contacts early in the New Year. Visitors include major collectors and representatives from public and private institutions – museums, galleries and corporate collections – together with well-informed individuals who buy regularly from the Fair.

London Art Fair offers a uniquely welcoming atmosphere for galleries and visitors to meet and do business. Strong marketing ensures a steady flow of visitors with three evening receptions
"British Collectors can see the cream of Modern British and Contemporary art on their doorstep at the London Art Fair." Meredith Etherington-Smith

Attracting visitors with a genuine passion for art, from serious collectors to those buying their first original work, London Art Fair is stylish, spectacular and uniquely welcoming.

Curated by Sarah McAvera, the Belfast-based Golden Thread Gallery presents an exhibition which attempts to investigate the relevance of "Troubles" artwork produced during, or inspired by, the 30-year period of turbulent conflict in Northern Ireland. Looking at the artwork, which often shows a world in stark contrast to today's era of peace and rebuilding, the issue of its relevancy arises. Is it detrimental to the local mentality to display and therefore continuously re-examine and discuss the "Troubles", or can it be used as a way of archiving the experience and thus moving forward? Does Troubles-inspired artwork overshadow all art produced in Northern Ireland, or does it provide a context to better understand this difficult and contentious era of contemporary history?

A questioning and scepticism of community, representation, religion and death pervade the artwork in this exhibition, which includes artwork in various media by some of Northern Ireland's leading visual artists. Victor Sloan's photography projects a tense locality where a newly constructed town, intended to be a neutral space, seethes with a precarious, sinister atmosphere. Continuing on the idea of two opposing bodies, Ian Charlesworth's work highlights the tension between the two segregated but parallel communities, by exploring the physical gesture in graffiti.

The subjective nature of representation is challenged in Graham Gingles' stencilled images of army men and crowds, which evoke a film negative and the ease in which it can be edited: made negative or positive, cropped, reduced or 'blown up'. Strategic juxtapositions of religious iconography alongside heavy artillery create a deadly association in Marie Barrett's landscapes, and religious imagery is utilised again in Gerry Gleason's paintings, which recall medieval icons while exploring lost freedoms and the weight of tradition.

Death and violence feature heavily in Troubles artwork, and Tom Bevan defies the violence with his bright, cheerfully painted wooden guns, turning these symbols of death and destruction into harmless objects of beauty. Philip Napier's sculpture of a funeral wreath commemorates the dead in a sombre gesture, while on the other hand Peter Richards's work, created post-Good Friday agreement, questions memory and memorial and brings us back to the initial question of the exhibit: what is the relevance of Troubles artwork in a stable, prosperous era?

Elizabeth Bell, writer, Chicago

Business Design Centre
London, United Kingdom, N1 9PP

Victor Sloan can be contacted at: