News 1984

Views from Ulster

Peacock Gallery, Craigavon

4 – 29 June 1984

Belfast Zoo II, silver gelatin print and toner, 29.5cms x 39cms, 1983 ©Victor Sloan

Belfast Zoo VI, silver gelatin print, toners, 29.5cms x 39cms, 1983 © Victor Sloan

Views from Ulster is currently on show at the Peacock Gallery in Craigavon. The exhibition was curated by Colin Osman, editor of the prestigious Creative Camera, published in London. This first major survey of contemporary Northern Irish photography, allowed participants to explore, experiment and show a different side of the province than that usually exported by photographic journalists.

With the support of the gallery’s Visual Arts Group, the seventeen exhibitors hope to try and bridge the gap. Among them are local artists Victor Sloan, Susan Forsythe, Tony Corey and Michael McKee. Featured alongside are works by such well-known figures as Bill Kirk and Derry news photographer Willie Carson. Other artists include Robert Ashby, Jim Bennett, Colin Boyle, Patrick Crockart, Errol Forbes, Maurice Hobson, Hazel McNeill, Peter Neill, Barry McInerney, Leslie Stannage and Ian Richie.

Views from Ulster Opening at the Peacock Gallery, Craigavon

The strength and variety of photographs on display is both exciting and encouraging, making a visit well worthwhile. Creative Camera is devoting an issue to the work of the exhibitors, and the exhibition will travel to other venues.

Colin Osman, editor of Creative Camera, writes in the publication which accompanies the exhibition:

Photography is unique among the arts in that it is both local and international and both contemporary and historical. Every time a family snapshot is made a small part of history is recorded. It may be so local as to interest the family and that interest arises from its subject matter, not its artistry. Great artistry can lift the same subject matter to universal appeal.

That same snapshot, processed in a matter of hours or even as an instant picture, records the contemporary moment. One hundred years from now, if it survives, it will be a historical document. Photography is the art medium unique in achieving this double duality because of the technical veracity of the photographic image.

Northern Ireland, because of the political struggle, has received an abundance of international photographers who have taken their pictures and left, scarcely adding anything to the Irish photographic community. The result has been a slow growth in photographic perception particularly aware of international photojournalism, but conscious of its explosive tendency and even more conscious of its limitations. These limitations of photojournalism, often imposed by deadlines and ‘media pressure’, give a distorted view of life and culture in Northern Ireland, and this is why it was a particular joy for me to assist in an exhibition which goes a little way to redress the balance.

Viewing is open until June 29, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Peacock Gallery and Craigavon Arts Committee wish to thank Reihill McKeown and Ormeau Bakeries for their support

Craigavon Visual Arts Group in association with Craigavon Arts Committee and Craigavon Borough Council.

Supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Peacock Gallery
Pinebank House Arts Centre
Tullygally Road
Co. Armagh
BT65 5BY
Northern Ireland

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